Are Calf Implants Effective In Club Foot?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am a 25yr old male who was born with club foot. I went through life playing sports and excelling in every aspect. At this point in my life I am currently coming to a financial point to pursue a calf implant surgery. Can you please inform me of what the procedure is all about, how often it is performed, success rate, and cost. Thanks you for your time and I look forward to moving this process along!

A:  Calf augmentation can be done by either an implant or more recently fat injections. The more guaranteed method of permanent calf augmentation is with an implant. Calf implants, like all body implants, are made of a very soft and spongy solid silicone rubber material which feels very much like muscle tissue. It is inserted through a small incision in the back of the knee in an outpatient procedure done under general anesthesia. The procedure is most commonly done in body builders or non-athletes who feel that their calfs are just too small. The most challenging patient in my experience is the club foot patient because, not only is the calf too small but the surrounding skin is very tight. This makes the insertion of an adequately-sized calf implant more difficult and it will not be possible to match the circumferential size of the smaller calf to the larger one. The club foot patient must be willing to accept improvement in calf shape but an ideal result will not be achieved.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana