By Male Body Aesthetic Specialist Dr. Steinbrech
Universally, men find the calves to be a difficult area of the body to tone as the muscle group can be resistant to even the most targeted regimens. Genetics and other factors can impact the size of your muscles. The size of the lower legs can offset a sculpted upper body even with a balanced workout plan. A cosmetic solution to the look of underdeveloped calf muscles is calf implant surgery performed by Dr. Douglas S. Steinbrech, M.D., F.A.C.S. at his New York City practice.
Why Undergo Calf Implant Surgery?
Also called calf augmentation, the placement of calf implants is performed to increase a person’s satisfaction with the look of their calves and improve overall self-esteem. Male models, body builders, and other industry professionals may find that undergoing calf implant surgery makes them more competitive than others in their line of work. Other men may have suffered a traumatic injury, disease, or genetic reasons that left them with smaller calf muscles. However, the majority of patients who undergo calf implant surgery are physically fit and seek to obtain a lower body in proportion with their upper body, thus balancing their aesthetics. Most patients cannot obtain larger calves due to their genetic predisposition. Toned-looking calves can also balance wide thighs or large buttocks. Genetics and workouts can certainly play a role in muscle development, but this plastic surgery produces results that may not be possible otherwise.
Custom-Fit Calf Implants
The calf implants that Dr. Steinbrech places are composed of a soft form of silicone, which will feel similar to real muscle. Patients can choose different sizes and shapes that are designed to create symmetry for the average man or specific enlargement for body builders. Calf implants are designed to add shape, create synthetic muscle definition, and add volume to the calf area. During a single surgery, each leg may receive one or two implants, depending on the patient’s request and the doctor’s anatomical assessment of the existing calf muscles. Dr. Steinbrech may further reshape the implants if necessary to provide customization during the actual surgery.
The calf is composed of two muscles: the gastrocnemius (also called leg triceps), which is the larger and visible muscle, and the soleus, which is situated below the gastrocnemius. The gastrocnemius is a two-part muscle, with a line down its center to divide the left and right side. It is this anatomy that is enhanced during calf augmentation. The soleus muscle is flat and not visibly seen.
Calf Implant Consultation and Candidates for Surgery
Before the procedure can take place, Dr. Steinbrech will meet with each patient at least once during a doctor-patient consultation to discuss the procedure. The doctor will obtain a full medical history, learn about the patient’s ideal look, and determine if the changes are possible through calf augmentation with implants. He will set expectations, and explain the risks and complications associated with the surgery, which may include the following:
- Adverse reaction to the anesthesia
- Nerve damage
- Implant rejection
- Damage to surrounding tissues
- Infection or bleeding
All questions about the procedure can be answered at this time while discussing any of the patient’s concerns.
Dr. Steinbrech will examine the patient’s body to discuss the feasibility of the surgery and possible implant options. A surgery date can typically be set the same day as the consultation.
The Surgery: Undergoing Calf Implants
Typically, calf implant surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure at either Dr. Steinbrech’s New York City medical office or an affiliated surgery center under general anesthesia. Prior to the procedure, the doctor may use a surgical pen to mark the area and he will go over the surgery details with the patient. Most commonly, an anesthesiologist will administer the necessary medications to ensure a pain-free and restful patient experience. Once fully asleep, the patient will be moved to a prone position (on their stomach), so the calves are exposed. The doctor can camouflage the incision in the existing crease behind the knee, and he will insert one or two implants through this opening on each leg.
Once the doctor has gained access to the calf muscle, the fibrous muscle covering called the fascia is separated away from the muscle to accommodate the implant in what is called the posterior compartment. It will be secured through this placement. If the patient elects to have more than one implant placed, the different recipient muscles will be fitted with implants in a similar fashion. The internal incisions are sutured closed with dissolvable stitches, and the external incisions behind the knee receive sutures as well.
Calf Augmentation without Implant Placement
While calf augmentation is commonly performed through the use of silicone implants, it can also be performed through a fat transfer. Dr. Steinbrech will begin by removing excess fat from a chosen area of the body (often the abdomen, flanks, or buttocks) during a liposuction procedure. This is beneficial to sculpting the donor site and providing a material to use for later placement. The harvested fat is purified and introduced to the calf area by injection or a cannula, which is the tube that suctions and deposits fat. The fat plumps the area below the skin to increase the look of the calves. If the patient has any other need for dermal injections to the face or body, the doctor can use any remaining fat to treat additional areas.
The benefit of a patient receiving a calf augmentation with their own fat is that the risk of foreign material rejection is eliminated. The calf will appear larger and when the fat is strategically placed, the doctor can create the illusion of more muscle tone. The autologous fat grafting technique has been used effectively in cosmetic medicine for decades and is appropriate for enlargement, symmetry, and correcting defects of the calf area. Calf augmentation with implants or fat is a permanent procedure.
Recovering from Calf Augmentation Surgery
After the surgery, the legs will likely feel sore, but to reduce risks and surgical complications, patients should walk with assistance once they have awoken. In just three to five postoperative days, patients can drive and perform any low-stress activities of the legs. It will be another three or four weeks before patients are cleared for more strenuous activities like exercise of the legs and working out.
Liposuction is a great addition to calf augmentation. Even when the surgery is performed with implants, fat removal of the thighs or buttocks can offer further definition to the legs so the newly reshaped calves are highlighted on the figure. Pec implant surgery can also be performed to offer correction of another feature that some men find difficult to tone due to genetic makeup – the pectoral muscles. During a consultation for calf surgery, patients can mention other cosmetic modifications they feel may improve their looks.
Contact Dr. Steinbrech for a Surgical Consult on Calf Augmentation
Men interested in calf implant or calf augmentation with fat grafting can contact Dr. Steinbrech’s NYC practice at (646) 480-7750. Patient advisors are able to provide some information over the phone. The office is located near 60 E 56th St, New York, NY 10022.
Why Choose Dr. Steinbrech
- Dr. Douglas Steinbrech has been ranked in the top 10 plastic surgeons in NYC.
- Dr. Douglas Steinbrech is a Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons under the American Board of Medical Specialties.
- Dr. Steinbrech underwent eight years of surgical training at New York University in General Surgery and Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive surgery.
- He has been awarded grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation.