What Are Calf Implants?
Calf implants are silicone-based products that are designed to enhance the calf area. Also called calf augmentation, this is a surgical procedure that’s performed by plastic surgeons only.
You might be curious about calf implants if you’re concerned with the appearance of your lower legs. This type of surgery may also be used by bodybuilders or for people with injuries or physical disabilities. Both men and women are known to get calf implants.
Overall, calf implants have both high rates of efficacy and low rates of side effects. But since all cosmetic surgeries can be risky (and costly), it’s important to learn all the ins and outs of calf implant procedures before booking your appointment.
Is Calf Augmentation Safe?
Soft, semi-solid silicone rubber implants in the calf are widely considered to be safe, with a low complication rate when performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, according to the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
However, all implants come with risks. These include hematomas, seromas, wound disruption, infection, capsular contracture, compartment syndrome, extrusion, rupture, and palpability. Capsular contracture, which occurs when scar tissue forms a hard capsule around the implant, causing distortion and pain, has been reported to have an incidence of up to 4% for calf implants.
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Possible Risks and Complications Calf Augmentation
As with any surgical procedures there are risks involved in calf augmentation with implants. You should be fully aware of risk and potential complications inherent to any surgery before you elect to have the procedure. It is always better to err on the side of caution in any surgical procedure.
The best way to reduce risk in any surgery is to find a surgeon who is fully qualified, has received formal training in surgery and has performed the procedure many times.
Bleeding, excessive swelling and other issues are complications that may arise from not following the post-surgical instructions given by your surgeon.
Here are some specific complications that may occur after calf implant surgery:
. Implant displacement is relatively rare. If it occurs in the early stages following implant insertion—say in the first ten days, before the implants have had time to settle—it can be moved without a new procedure. Displacement after this time will require a revision procedure. Once the implants heal and settle, they are unlikely to shift unless the area receives a severe blow, one that would normally injure both natural muscle and break bones.
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. Complications related to silicone are also rare.
. Infections can be treated in a number of ways including implant removal, draining and antibiotics, either alone or in various combinations.
. Nerve injury could occur in two ways. Key nerves in the area can be damaged when pockets are created for the implants. It is also possible for nerves to suffer damage from the implants pressing on them after insertion. You could encounter severe pain that does not subside with time due to nerve injury or excessive pressure. Some nerves grow back or repair themselves, others do not.
. Closed compartment syndrome occurs due to excessive pressure on the muscles and nerves. If the implant is too big, it may have to be replaced with a smaller one to avoid excessive pressure. Your surgeon will have two choices here: to remove the implant to be reinserted on another occasion or to trim down and reinsert during the same procedure.
. Delayed complications such as infection or implant displacement are relatively rare.
Just as you would discuss potential benefits before surgery, it is always advisable to ask your surgeon to address the potential risks as they apply to you. They can also advise you on how to avoid or minimize some types of risk.