Can You Do Just One Calf Implant?

Q: I am writing to inquiry about a calf implant for my daughter. She has developed a  rather significant difference in the size of her calfs now that she is a teenager. While it was slightly apparent as a child, it has become real obvious as a 15 year-old teenager. It bothers her to the point that she will not wear shorts or go to the pool with other teenagers. She walks fine and as no disability from the calf size difference. I know that calf implants can be done for body builders and others who want both calfs to look bigger, but can just one calf implant be done? I could not find anywhere where just one was done.

A: Calf augmentation with implants is an uncommon body contouring procedure. While it has been done for decades, it is far less common than breast or buttock implants. While most people think that only body builder types do the procedure, it may surprise you to know that their use for ‘reconstruction’ of congenital calf deformities makes up about half of all calf augmentation procedures.

Calf implants are made of specially-shaped soft flexible silicone rubber. They are surgically placed through a small incision behind the knee. They can not really be put inside the calf muscle but are placed on top under its fascial covering. They can be placed on either the inside, outside of the calf, or both. Most commonly, they are placed on the inside half (medial) which is where most of the calf’s definition can be visually seen.

For calf asymmetry, placing a calf implant on the smaller side can help make their size discrepancy less apparent. If your teenager is that bothered by it, I would seriously consider the procedure. It is really the only good plastic surgery option for such a calf problem.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana