Calf augmentation with either silicone implants or fat will not increase the power of the muscle or improve function.
Calf Muscle Anatomy
The calf muscles or gastrocnemius muscles lie beneath the skin and subcutaneous tissue. The skin over the calf muscles is pretty thin. There are 2 heads to the calf muscles; the medial head which is larger and lies towards the inside of the leg, and the lateral head which is smaller and lies towards the outside of the leg. These two heads fuse with the soleus muscle which is deeper in the leg to create the Achilles tendon. This important tendon attaches to the heel and allows for plantar flexion of the ankle.
Men have larger and longer calf muscles than women. Men usually want a bulkier calf, while women may want calf enhancement for shaping purposes. Calf augmentation can not only add bulk to the calf area but also increase fullness and shape to the inner (medial) or outer (lateral) leg. Overall calf augmentation can really improve your look in an area that is resistant to exercise.
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Calf Augmentation Surgery
Calf enhancement can be achieved by two ways. The more common solid silicone implants and the fat transfer.
: This is the preferred method for calf augmentation and reliable. A solid silicone implant is placed directly over the calf muscle and below the fascia of the muscle. Fascia is a thicker tissue that is semi adherent to the muscle. When in the right plane the dissection is easy and bloodless. It is paramount to go to a plastic surgeon who does calf implants routinely. Dr. Parikh has performed multiple calf implants throughout the area.
Incisions are placed in the knee crease. One or two incisions may be placed depending if one or two implants are being used. The silicone implants generally come in 3 sizes small, medium and large. The implants can also be carved to customize the shape if needed.
Fat based or grafting
: The augmentation is performed by harvesting fat by liposuction from a different area of the body and transferring it to the calves. In general the fat is injected into the muscle belly and above the muscle. Fat survival can be an issue and more than one fat transfer may be needed to obtain the optimal look.
It is important to see a surgeon with knowledge of the anatomy of the area and fat grating or transfer techniques. All of this can affect your results and safety. At the time of your consultation Dr. Parikh can go over in detail with you regarding the anatomy of the area and different techniques used.
Candidates for Calf Augmentation
Candidates are relatively healthy. Men or women who desire larger or more shapely calves. One or two implants may be placed in each calf depending on your goals. Dr. Parikh will discuss in detail regarding whether one or two implants will fit your needs. Patients that do not have any preexisting vascular disease are ideal and have been routinely working out there calves with no gains.
What are the Methods to Enhance the Shape and Size of the Calves?
There are two techniques used to augment the calves;
- Calf Implants
- Calf Fat Transfer or Grafting
Calf Implants area silicone based solid implants. Fat transfer uses your own body’s fat which is then injected into the calves to enhance the size and shape.
What technique is better Calf Implantation or Calf Fat Transfer?
Calf Implants have a fixed volume that is guaranteed to stay as long as the implant is in place. Fat transfer or grafting will enhance the size and shape but a portion of it will not survive. This needs to be understood. Although there are advantages to fat transfer such as less downtime, your own natural tissue being used and smaller scars it has the disadvantage of maintaining a consistent size. When fat transfer is performed it must be emphasized that additional fat transfer procedures may be required to reach a desired goal.
Can Calf Implants and Fat Transfer to the Calves be Performed at the same time?
Yes, the two procedures can be performed at the same time. An example is if enhancement is required below the calf muscle. The implants area placed over the muscle region. Below the muscle where the tendon is fat can be placed to enhance that area if it is lacking.
Do Calf Implants Rupture or Leak?
Calf Implants can rarely rupture. They do not leak free silicone on the same way as a breast implant because they are solid in nature. The silicone is solid and be carved or cut prior to placement. Breast Implants are gel based and cannot be cut.
Does Dr. Parikh MD FACS perform Calf Implants often?
Dr. Parikh performs this type of procedure routinely. In his region, he performs the most calf augmentations by implant or fat transfer. This is a specialized type of procedure and should be performed by a surgeon that knows the anatomy of the leg well and can treat complication if they should arise.
Are Calf Implants safe?
Calf Implants are very safe. They area made from a solid silicone material. However, it is important to see a plastic surgeon that has experience with placement of the implant since this can make all the difference in your results and the safety of your leg.
Do Calf Implants affect the Calf Muscle and its Strength?
Calf Implants do not affect the muscle at all. The implants are placed over the muscle. The muscle is not split or cut at all. Working out is not affected. The muscle can still grow if strength exercises are being done.
Where are the Incisions for Calf Implants?
The incisions are hidden in the knee crease at the back of the knee. One or two incisions may be performed depending on if one or two implants are used. For fat transfer there is no incisions but there is a small hole from where the injections are performed. This usually heals without significance.
What are Custom Silicone Implants?
Custom implants are solid silicone implants that come in various sizes that can be carved by the surgeon to the shape and size they want. Certain patients may not conform to the standard sizes that are prefabricated. Therefore, a custom implant may be needed. This is more likely in the case of a revision calf augmentation or a significant asymmetry between the two legs.
Who is a good Candidate for Calf Augmentation? Women vs Men
Calf Implant Surgeon Dr. Parikh fits potential patients into two main categories;
- Cosmetic Need
- Reconstructive Need
Most patient fit into category one Cosmetic. This means they are unhappy with the shape or size of both calves. They have worked out their calves at the gym and just cannot achieve their goals.
For women I find most of them are concerned with the shape, particularly the inside part of the leg. They like to see the shape from the front project towards the inside between the calves. This can usually be achieved with one implant on the inner calf or medial gastrocnemius muscle. Men on the other hand are generally are more concerned with overall size of the calf. This usually requires two implants. One on the inside and one on the outside or lateral head gastrocnemius muscle. In my practice 50% the patients are women and 50% are men.
Category two Reconstructive needs for calf augmentation can be seen in certain pathological conditions such as club foot, trauma, genetic disorders or nerve disorders. Asymmetry is usually seen between the two sides and the patient is concerned with achieving balance.