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Calf augmentation is a procedure that uses fat grafting or implants to increase the size of the lower leg. Patients may elect to have calf augmentation procedures for aesthetic or reconstructive purposes.
Considering Calf Augmentation
- Looking to even out the proportions of their body
- Seeking increased muscle definition and bulk
- Wishing to fix physical defects that may be the result of injury, diseases like polio, or birth defects like clubfoot or spina bifida
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 548 calf augmentation procedures done in the United States in 2014.
Choosing the Right Procedure
Before the procedure, patients will need to choose between using silicone implants and using a fat grafting procedure. Silicone implants are usually made of solid silicone, though patients can also choose silicone gel implants. Unlike gel implants, solid silicone implants do not pose the risk of leaking into the body, but solid silicone implants will create an unnatural border if placed too close to the surface of the skin. Silicone gel implants posed problems for women using them for breast implants, and silicone calf implants pose similar risks of rupturing, leaking into the body, and (in very rare cases) of cancer.
Patients who choose a fat grafting procedure will have fat removed from other parts of the body—often from the hips, stomach, lower back, thighs, or buttocks— and inserted into the calf with a special needle. Fat grafting procedures are less invasive and pose less risk than implant procedures, but patients do risk symmetry and additional procedures because between 30% and 60% of the fat can be re-absorbed by the body.
Understanding the Calf Augmentation Procedure
An anesthesiologist will administer sedation or anesthesia to the patient before surgery and will place the patient in a face-down position. Doctors will make an incision at the back of the knee. Before continuing doctors will need to locate the tibial nerve (the nerve that supplies sensation to the foot and leg) so they can keep it safe during surgery.
Doctors will insert a blunt surgical tool to make a pocket between the muscle and the connective tissues in the calf, and will insert the implant.
Calf augmentation surgery usually costs between $4,000 and $9,000. Most insurance companies will not cover calf augmentation surgery because it is an elective, cosmetic procedure.
Risks of Calf Augmentation
Like all surgeries, calf augmentation procedures come with certain risks. These risks will largely depend on the type of procedure chosen (gel/soft silicone or fat grafting).
- Excessive bleeding or hemorrhaging
- Anesthesia complications
- Nerve damage and changes in sensation (especially damage to the tibial nerve)
- Implant slippage or visible implant
- Silicone gel leak (if silicone gel implants are used)
- Damages to surrounding anatomy
- Fat graft loss (if fat grafting is used)
To help minimize risks patients should know the qualifications and past procedural results of their doctors.
Malpractice in Calf Augmentation
If you or a loved one has suffered injury from negligence in a calf augmentation surgery, call Gilman & Bedigian today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal rights.
As is true for most elective cosmetic procedures, patients will have trouble finding representation for minor, temporary injuries. The combination of time, effort, and compensation available for such minor injuries makes it unlikely that most law firms, including our own, will take on such cases. Patients who have suffered serious or permanent injury will have the most successful cases.