Procedures have been developed in Asia to deal with large calves which are resistant to diet and exercise but it is not widely available in the UK.
Calf reduction: Am I suitable?
Calf volume can be due to fat but is often the result of wide and thick muscles. Liposuction can reduce the amount of fat, but if it is due to the muscles then liposuction will have no impact. There have been some developments in how to tackle the muscles without impairing physical activity but these should be approached with caution.
Calf reduction: What’s the treatment like?
One option is Botox injections. The toxin is injected into the gastrocnemius muscle and, about one week later, the circumference of the calf will start to shrink, because the motor nerves to the muscle are blocked by the injections. However, the downside of this procedure is that it requires repeated treatments with an unpredictable result.
Another option is selective neurectomy where nerve branches going into the muscles are disconnected. The scar is located on the back of the knee and is no longer than 2 cm. Surgery is performed under general anaesthetic, it takes less than an hour and patients can walk home on the same day.
Calf reduction: What about after?
With selective neurectomy patients will not be able to lift their heels for a few months, but they will be able to start running at three months, and they can go back to normal exercise six months after the surgery.
Between three and six months nerve and muscle compensation will occur; this means the muscles function normally, but are smaller in size.
Calf reduction: Are there any risks or side effects?
Studies of the long-term results of selective neurectomy have shown that no functional impairment is present when the patient is healed and physical exercises can help keep the result achieved by surgery.
Calf reduction: What will it cost me?
Botox injection usually cost from £175 to £300 and they will need to be repeated every three to six months.
Calf implant surgery or a calf augmentation is a procedure – either for aesthetic or reconstructive purposes – to reshape the lower leg with silicone implants.
Calf implants: Am I suitable?
It is suitable for men or women who are unhappy with the size and shape of their calves even after undertaking exercise to help develop their muscle tone.
It can also be a reconstructive procedure for those who have deformities of the lower leg due to injury or nerve diseases such as polio or spina bifida.
Your consultation with your surgeon will determine whether a calf implant op will give you the results you are expecting. Also a full medical history will be taken to check whether you’re physically able to undergo the procedure.
Calf implants: What do I have to do to prepare?
As it is a surgical procedure, your surgeon will discuss with you what precautions you should take before surgery.
Calf implants: What’s the treatment like?
Calf implants are made of silicone – either silicone gel implants or solid silicone implants – and come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
The implants are inserted into pockets either above or under the existing calf muscle through small incisions in the crease of the knee. The procedure takes between one and two hours.
Calf implants: What about after?
Initially you should rest post-surgery with the leg elevated to reduce swelling and discomfort before embarking on post-surgery exercise and normal activities. At first the implants will feel quite high and firm but they will soften and settle once the swelling subsides. Normal activities should all resume after three to four weeks.
Calf implants: Are there any risks or side effects?
Calf implants aren’t guaranteed to last a lifetime so you should expect further surgery in the future to replace them if required.
As well as the usual surgical complications, calf implant surgery can cause nerve or muscle damage, asymmetry, capsular contracture and movement of the implant over time.
Calf implants: What will it cost me?
Calf implant surgery costs from £5,000.