Calf Implant Surgery


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Calf implant surgery is treated very much like any other surgical procedure and is relatively straightforward. As with most surgery, preliminary blood work will be taken some time before the procedure to check blood counts, as well as a pregnancy test in women. If everything is fine, the surgery can go ahead. First of all you will be fitted with an IV drip and catheter to keep you hydrated during the procedure. This can also be a useful entryway for any medication necessary in the surgery, including sedatives – these can enter your system either via the IV or injection, depending on the preferences of both you and the surgeon.

Anaesthesia in Calf Implant Surgery

The anaesthesia used  in calf augmentation can vary, depending on the needs and preferences of you and the surgical team, and on the advice of an anaesthesiologist. General anaesthetics are common, as are local or regional anaesthetics teamed with sedatives. This is something which will be discussed with your surgeon, and on advice of the anaesthesiologist, at your consultation, to decide which kind would be best for you. The most common options are usually either general anaesthetic, or local nerve blocks in the legs with a regional spinal anaesthesia and moderate to strong sedatives. The local anaesthetic used in your legs may be a long-acting one to help with any pain and soreness afterwards.

The Calf Implant Procedure

Once you are under anaesthesia and sedated, the surgery can begin. First you will be turned onto your stomach, and the incision is made, about three inches long just on the crease of the knee, and along the fascia, a fibrous covering of the gastrocnemius muscle. The tissue is then dissected to create a pocket between the fascia and the muscle, just big enough for the implant to fit snugly. The first implant is then inserted. Since the gastrocnemius, the muscle which forms the bulk of the calf, is a two-headed muscle, two implants are usually used in each calf, to give a more natural look. The procedure is therefore repeated to insert the second implant into the calf. In some cases, especially those involving patients who have lost musculature due to injury or disease, an extended pocket and implant will have to be created to run down the appropriate length of the leg. However, it is not possible to implant the lower quarter or so of the leg due to the placement of tendons, blood vessels, nerves, and so on. The leg will then be examined, and if the surgeon is happy, he or she will close the incision with stitches, usually a dissolvable suture. The procedure is then repeated on the other leg. When it is complete, you will be turned onto your back again, and can then be wakened gently and recovery can begin.

How Long does Calf Implant Surgery Take?

Calf implant surgery usually takes around two hours, taking around forty-five minutes to an hour on each leg. Both legs will usually be done in the same procedure, and it can be done in conjunction with other procedures at the same time if necessary.

Are Calf Implants Painful?

If all goes well, calf augmentation should not be painful. Any pain you are likely to feel will be controlled with medication and anaesthetic, as well as other measures afterwards such as ice packs and keeping legs elevated. There will be some soreness from your legs healing, your calves becoming used to the presence of the implants, and your skin stretching to accommodate them, and as you are healing your legs will be a little stiff and uncomfortable – however, if you experience any bad pain which seems unusual, consult your surgeon as soon as possible.


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