Whether for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes, most people considering calf implants seek to correct a disproportion between the thigh and the calf. Women often want to improve their appearance in skirts and dresses by creating a gently curving, sexy inner or outer leg with calf augmentation. Males, athletes, and body-builders generally want to add bulk to the upper calf region. Whatever the reason, calf augmentation with implants or autologous fat is becoming an increasingly accepted method of improving and/or restoring volume and shape of the lower extremity. Dr. Jaime Perez has been performing precise, exacting calf implant and calf augmentation surgery for over ten years on patients from Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Naples, Palm Harbor, and abroad.
Calf Implants (Calf Augmentation)
The use of calf implants as a means of enhancing lower leg contour has been around since the 1970's. Since that time, the number of people undergoing calf augmentation with implants or fat has been increasing steadily, particularly in Europe and on the coasts of the United States. In Florida, Miami and the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Naples, and Palm Harbor, have seen dramatic increases in the numbers of patients undergoing calf augmentation in recent years.
Those people undergoing calf implant surgery wish to attain the ideal lower leg proportions. Research into lower extremity anatomy has found the ideal female calf circumference to be 33 to 36-cm while in males it is 37 to 40-cm. Additionally, female legs should gently flow around moderate calf fullness then taper into a delicate ankle. Male legs, on the other hand, exhibit generous amounts of superior calf bulk and angular, muscular definition. The shape of the calf is determined by the development of the underlying bones, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, and fat. While the bones of the lower extremity are seldom altered for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes, small, poorly defined muscles can be augmented with implants and fat can be redistributed with liposuction and fat grafting. Dr. Jaime Perez tailors his surgical plan for calf implants or calf augmentation based on each patient's individual anatomy, desires, and needs ensuring the most natural, safe, and aesthetic result possible.
The ideal candidate for calf implant or augmentation surgery is a patient without underlying medical problems, has no history of bleeding of blood clotting disorders, does not smoke cigarettes, and desires an increase in the appearance of muscle bulk or definition of the calf region, particularly the inner calf.
Patients with significant scar tissue, poor blood flow to the lower extremities, or unrealistic expectations may not be candidates for calf implant surgery.
Calf implants or calf augmentation with fat transfer is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis, meaning the patient goes home the same day. The surgery usually takes one and one half to two hours to perform, depending on the individual technique the patient and Dr. Perez decides upon.
Calf Implants - The insertion of calf implants is ideal for those patients who desire the addition of muscle bulk or definition, particularly of the upper, inner calves. During this procedure, a small incision is made in the natural skin crease on the back of the knee. Through this incision a solid, anatomically shaped, silicone implant is placed directly above the calf muscle but below the fascia (i.e. the thick, fibrous tissue surrounding the muscle), on the inner portion of the leg. The size of the implant ranges from 60 to 220-cc, and occasionally larger for custom-made implants, and is decided upon before surgery after discussion with Dr. Perez.
Calf Augmentation with Fat Transfer- Calf augmentation with fat injections (i.e. fat grafting or fat transfer) is ideal for patients who require very specific, individualized augmentation of the calves, particularly the lower leg or ankle region, that could not be corrected with an implant. These patients often have congenital deformities such as clubfoot, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, poliomyelitis, or have suffered traumatic injuries such as fractures or burns. In this procedure, fat is harvested via liposuction from an area of excess on the body, usually the abdomen, flanks, or thighs, processed, and reinjected into the area of the calf requiring augmentation. Approximately 75 to 200cc of processed fat is injected via long cannulas into multiple different layers of the lower leg (i.e. into the muscle, just above the muscle, into the existing fat) until the desired result is achieved. Injections often need to be repeated two to four times at three-month intervals as the body absorbs some of the transferred fat.
The majority of patients undergoing calf implants or augmentation love their new look at can't wait to get back to the gym or beach. Despite this high satisfaction rate, like every surgery, there are certain well-known associated risks.
The most common complication of calf implant surgery is immediate or delayed malposition or migration of the implant, usually in a superior direction. Another less common complication of calf implant surgery is capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is caused by the formation of thick, fibrous scar tissue around the implant resulting in implant palpability, distortion, or pain. The causes of capsular contracture are unclear and fortunately occur in less than 5% of patients undergoing this operation. Infection occurs in 0.6 to 3.3% of patients. Infection may be treated with oral antibiotics but occasionally may require removal of the implant or fat if the infection becomes severe. Dr. Perez examines all of his patients within one to two days after surgery so that in the rare chance there is a complication, it can be diagnosed and addressed appropriately.
Calf implant or calf augmentation with fat injections typically takes one and one half to two hours and is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. For the first few days after surgery, patients are expected to keep the legs elevated as much as possible and will experience a discomfort similar to that encountered after excessive exercise. Patients usually wear compression garments for two weeks following surgery, may generally return to work after about a week, and allowed to return to full exercise after six weeks. Antibiotics and pain medicines are prescribed following the surgery.
While the cost varies by region of the country, the usual cost of bilateral calf augmentation in the Tampa Bay area, which includes Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, is between $5,000 to $6,500. Custom implants, multiple implants per leg, and liposuction with fat grafting can increase the baseline amount.
Before And After Photos
Please see the photo gallery for before and after photos of patients undergoing calf implant surgery by Dr. Jaime Perez.