Silicone calf implants are the surgical answer to volume- and shape deficiencies of the calf muscles. A single implant augments the medial compartment mainly. As a pair of two implants per leg, they can improve both sides of the lower limb.
Recent advances, in the right hands, have turned this delicate surgical operation into a safe, reliable and aesthetically pleasing addition to the field of cosmetic surgery.
Lots of people are self-conscious about volume deficiency, the shape and the lack of balance or asymmetry of the calf muscles. The problem may occur as a anatomic variation only or as the result of functional deformity, such as after poliomyelitis, spina bifida, osteomyelitis, accidents, club-foot or paresis. Exercise to create muscle bulk is largely ineffective.
This is where silicone implant technology comes in. Aesthetic calf augmentation is gaining popularity rather fast.
True hypotrophy or a lack of balance?
They are those with “high insertions” or “chicken legs” who have a functionally normal, but aesthetically dis-pleasingly thin, set of calves.
More and more women also complain about disproportionate calves as compared to their bulky knees and thighs. They avoid wearing elegant high heels and skirts. Also body builders and fitness enthusiasts may get frustrated by the poor results of training.
When the difference between two legs is obvious, a different approach to each leg is indicated. We can decide to just operate on the thinner leg only, or use different volume or number of implants on each side.
Are you a candidate?
Calf augmentation is safe and reliable only in expert hands. Things can go disastrously wrong when the fundamentals are disrespected. More than for any other type of cosmetic surgery, the result of calf augmentation depends on the surgeon’s competence.
There are no hard and fast contra-indications for this type of surgery. However, do expect a thorough preoperative analysis and work-up in order to determine any specific risks that may apply to you, as well as to clarify exactly what to expect in terms of recovery and result.
It is important to select the optimal size of implants. Depending on the situation and the patient’s desire, a second set of implants may be indicated to augment the lateral compartments also.
Occasionally it may be advisable to plan a 2-stage procedure. This particularly applies to the very tight calves or where a maximal augmentation is envisaged.
Dr. Hoeyberghs has advanced the specific surgical technique over the years by combining his vast experience in implant technology, also for breast and buttock implants, with the specific challenges in the lower leg. In his hands, the operation has become safe, effective and aesthetically pleasing. Recovery is smooth and remarkably pain free. The result is –as a rule- life long.
The scar fades over a period of 12-18 months. The implants are barely discernable leaving a very natural improved appearance.
The surgery happens on an outpatient basis. You go home the same day. The anaesthesia is by intravenous sedation. Recovery is very quick.
The horizontal incision in the pit of the knee allows for the implants to be positioned accurately at a very deep level. In this way they remain hidden, both visually and palpably, deep inside the tissues. There is barely any blood loss. You stay in the recovery room for a few hours. You are allowed to fully weight bear and walk straight off. You can be chauffeur driven home the same day.
The surgery is not unduly painful. Standard paracetamol pain relief is all that is usually required during the first few days only.
During the first week after the operation you will have to take it easy with frequent short walks. In between you should keep your feet up as much as possible. This is important for the swelling to subside and to maintain a good circulation in the legs. Avoid high heels. Use a crutch if you want.
The legs will be slightly swollen and may appear somewhat bruised. After a few days the pain subsides. Gradually, walking becomes more and more comfortable. You can shower. Avoid soaking baths until stitches are out.
A slight numbness will disappear over the first six weeks.
Don’t bandage the legs. A supportive stocking is all you may want. With the Hoff-method the implants are put securely into place, they will not shift position. Because of the low pressure surgery and as we avoid general anaesthetic altogether, the risk of deep venous thrombosis is to be considered very minimal indeed. There is no need for systemic anticoagulation.
One week after surgery you can gradually return to your normal level of activity. Most people resume work by then and return to normal walking and cycling. Wait driving your car until you are fully confident of your foot control.
3 weeks after surgery the tissues are sufficiently relaxed to allow for more strenuous exercise. The muscles can now recover fully in function. Wait with vigorous power training, however, until six weeks after surgery.