Overview of Calf Implant Surgery

Doctor examining patient's leg and knee
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Technical Name:

Calf augmentation or Calfplasty


A procedure done for either cosmetic or reconstructive purposes, which enlarges and reshapes the lower leg by inserting silicone implants.


Calf augmentation can be done for purely cosmetic reasons or it can be done to restore form as a reconstructive procedure.

As a cosmetic procedure, calf augmentation enhances the contour and size of the lower leg.

As a reconstructive procedure, calf augmentation is used to correct deformities from injury or nerve diseases, such as polio, spina bifida, or clubfoot that result in muscle atrophy.


According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, 2,559 calf augmentations were performed in 2009.

Appropriate Candidate:

Calf augmentation is for individuals who feel that their lower legs are out of proportion from their upper legs. Calf augmentation is for men and women who, even after extensive muscular development, can’t achieve the calf muscle tone they desire. It is also for individuals who lack calf development due to injury or disease.

Implant Material:

Calf implants are made of silicone. The two types are silicone-gel implants and solid silicone implants. Solid silicone implants are firmer than their gel counterparts. Calf implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In cases of disease or injury, a custom implant can be made from a mold of the calf muscles.

Operative Technique:

The implants are placed in pockets either over or under the existing calf muscles. Implant placement in relation to the calf muscle is based on the surgeon’s preference. Depending on the desired enhancement, either one or two implants are placed into the pocket through small incisions hidden in the creases behind the knee.

The procedure time is 1-2 hours.


$5500-$8500. This includes the cost of the calf implants, the surgeon's fee, the surgical facility fee, and the anesthesia fee.


  • Short -Term (Surgical Recovery) - Lasts approximately 1-2 weeks after surgery
    • Days 1-2: The first 1-2 days are spent in bed with the legs elevated most of the time to reduce swelling and discomfort. Exceptions to bed rest are getting up to use the bathroom and walking short distances.
    • Days 3-7: After two days the dressings are removed and a more vigorous routine of walking begins. Short, daily showers are allowed.
    • Days 8-14: After the first week, walking greater distances becomes more comfortable. The walking may be a little stiff-legged.
  • Long-Term (Cosmetic Recovery) - Starts 2-3 weeks after surgery
    • Weeks 2-3: Walking is more normal and the skin begins to stretch and lose its shiny appearance.
    • Weeks 3-4: Any bruising begins to disappear.
    • Weeks 4-8: Without complications, full, unrestricted activities can begin.

Longevity of Results:

Calf implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime. Future surgery may be required to replace one or both implants.

Possible Complications:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve and/or muscle damage
  • Implant shifting or displacement
  • Scarring
  • Asymmetry
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Capsular contracture
  • Implant extrusion


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Dini M; Innocenti A; Lorenzetti P. Aesthetic calf augmentation with silicone implants. Aesthetic Plast Surg 2002; 26(6):490-2.

Felício Y. Calfplasty. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2000; 24(2):141-7.

Gerber D, Kuechel MC. 100 Questions and Answers About Plastic Surgery. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc, 2005.

Niechajev I. Calf augmentation and restoration. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2005; 116(1):295-305.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2010 Report of the 2009 Statistics National Clearinghouse of Plastic Surgery Statistics. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/Media/statistics/2009-US-cosmeticreconstructiveplasticsurgeryminimally-invasive-statistics.pdf.

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