How is a calf implant surgery performed?
Calf augmentation is typically an outpatient procedure. Below are the general steps for calf implant surgery, but these steps may vary depending on the technique you and your aesthetic plastic surgeon decide on.
- Your surgeon will measure your legs during your consultation to determine the right implant size for your calves, and then order the implants for surgery.
- You will be given general anesthesia or be heavily sedated before the procedure begins.
- You will lie face down in the prone position on the operating table.
- Your surgeon makes an incision at the back of your knee, through the skin and fascia (sheet of connective tissue) covering the gastrocnemius muscle.
- Once your surgeon locates the most salient nerve (tibial nerve), your surgeon will continue your procedure without much concern for encountering other nerves or arteries since there aren't many in the calf area.
- The surgeon makes a snug pocket (large enough only for the implant) between this fascia and muscle, then inserts the implant, or they may insert the implant into the muscle.
- Your surgeon closes the incision and repeats the procedure on the opposite side (if needed).
- After your procedure is complete, you may need to wear a compression garment to help minimize swelling or implant shift.
What are my calf implant options?
Calf implants are available in solid silicone and silicone gel, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on your individual need and desire, your surgeon may insert one or two implants in each leg. Fat transfer is not an option for this calf augmentation.
Solid Silicone Implants
Calf implants made of solid silicone are relatively soft and flexible, allowing them to look and feel like real muscle. Because solid silicone implants are not made from silicone gel or fluid, they will not leak or tear. Your surgeon can order custom-carve solid silicone implants for you if desired. A risk with solid silicone implants is they can leave a palpable edge (one that can be felt) if the surgeon places it too close to the skin’s surface.
Silicone Gel Implants
Silicone-gel calf implants are available in symmetrical sizes, which are suited best for the general population, and anatomical (asymmetrical sizes), which are great for bodybuilders who desire more dramatic volume than the average-build patient. A risk with silicone gel implants is they could leak or tear. They also can cause capsular contracture (shrinking and tightening of the scar tissue around the implant, causing pain, unnatural firmness, and distortion); however, this rarely occurs.
Where will the surgeon place my calf implants?
Your surgeon will place the calf implant either subfascially (in a pocket between your fascia skin tissue and gastrocnemius muscle) or submuscularly (within the muscle).
This placement is more common because the procedure is less invasive, less difficult, and leads to a faster, less painful recovery. However, subfascial placement can sometimes result in implant rotation and a palpable implant. If this happens, the result can be less than desired because the implant defines the calf shape versus the muscle tissue. This issue can occur with silicone-gel or solid silicone implants.
This placement is less common because it is a more difficult procedure. Your surgeon must dissect deeper into muscle tissue. You can also expect a few additional days of recovery and greater discomfort. However, the implant will be more secure and more accurately placed within the muscle. This placement will have a better aesthetic outcome and provide a more natural shape since the calf muscles cover the implant. The other benefit is you are less likely to experience surgical complications such as vascular or nerve damage with submuscular placement.