Calf Implant Overview
Also called calf augmentation, this procedure increases calf size to improve the overall shape and appearance of the patient’s legs. People typically seek this treatment when diet and exercise fail to provide the desired definition and tone to the muscle. Additionally, people seek calf implants to correct imbalances that occur due to birth defects.
Implant material typically consists of either silicone gel or solid silicone. Sizes are symmetrical or asymmetrical, with patients choosing the type best suited to their purpose in obtaining the implants. For example, body builders are more likely to choose asymmetrical.
There are two placement options: subfascially and submuscularly. The fascia is the tissue connecting to the muscle, and the subfascial placement is the less invasive option with quicker healing and recovery. However, implants may rotate or become palpable, with a less-defined appearance. Submuscular requires placement more deeply within the muscle tissue, leading to longer, more painful recovery time. However, placement is more secure and creates a more natural appearance.
- Preparation: Begin preparing for your procedure at least two weeks ahead of time, especially if you take blood thinning medications or smoke. Blood thinning medications include NSAIDs like aspirin and Ibuprofen as well as certain vitamins and supplements like Gingko biloba. Hydration is also important in aiding recovery, so drink plenty of water in the days leading up to and following surgery. This is also the time to arrange for transportation to and from the facility on the day of your procedure. Finally, you need someone to stay with you that first night after surgery.
- Anesthesia: Discuss anesthesia options during your preoperative consultation. General anesthetic is common, but local and sedation options are available.
- Preoperative Consult: Your preoperative consultation is your chance to ask all of your questions and discuss your goals with Dr. Vallecillos. He will measure your calves and make recommendations as to implant size and explain the possible outcomes, as well as any risks and side effects. In addition, the doctor lets you know whether you are a good candidate for calf implants, and whether your goals are realistic.
Calf Implant Procedure Walk-Through
After completing his measurements, Dr. Vallecillos orders the implants. The day of surgery, he administers the anesthesia, and then positions you facedown on the operating table.
At the back of the knee, he makes the incision, working through the skin and fascia tissues and isolating the tibial nerve. The doctor creates a pocket between the fascia and the muscle and inserts the implant. After examining the leg, he then closes the incision and repeats the procedure on the second leg.
Finally, Dr. Vallecillos places you on your back and moves you to recovery for observation. The procedure takes approximately two hours to complete.
Calf Implant FAQs
Who is a candidate for calf implants?
Patients enjoying good health, and who have maintained their weight for at least 90 days, are good candidates for calf implants. In addition, you should have a realistic outlook on the possibilities of the surgery.
What is the recovery time for a PROCEDURE?
Dr. Vallecillos discusses the complete recovery time during your consultation. However, expect to wait around six weeks before returning to your pre-operative level of activity. Follow post-operative instructions exactly to ensure proper healing.
After surgery, the doctor explains care of any drains, normal symptoms, and what to look for as signs of complications. Immediately after surgery, bruising, swelling, and discomfort at the incision site are common, and you receive medication to manage pain.
The first 48 hours, you need assistance in standing and walking. Keep the legs elevated to reduce swelling and discomfort. Remove your dressings on the second day following surgery. You may also begin short walks around the house and may take a brief shower.
Walking during the first week will be stiff, but walk gradually greater distances each day to aid healing. You begin walking normally after two to three weeks, and bruising starts to fade. Approximately one month after surgery, you may begin light exercise, with a full return to normal activities at six weeks.
Are there risks or side effects associated with a PROCEDURE?
Significant complications occur infrequently. However, all surgeries carry some risk. This includes reactions to anesthesia, hematoma, infection, and bleeding. Scarring is minimal, as the incision occurs within the natural creases behind the knee.
Calf implant risks include visibility of the implant, nerve or muscle damage, asymmetry, and implant slippage.
Follow post-operative instructions exactly to minimize risks.
How long do the results last?
The results are permanent, but return to Dr. Vallecillos for follow-up evaluation as prescribed.