The cost of calf implants may be less than you expect.
With plastic surgery becoming less and less taboo, previously uncharted territory — like calves — are becoming a more popular surgical destination. But what’s recovery like, and how much do calf implants cost, anyway?
“Over the years, I have seen a rise in the popularity of calf implants,” shares Norman M. Rowe, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. “I believe this increase is due to the desire for additional calf definition, which can be difficult to obtain without an implant.”
What kind of implants are used in the calves?
“For calf augmentations, silastic implants are typically used,” says Rowe of the outpatient procedure.
While the implants themselves may be similar in composition to breast implants, they’re usually very different in size and shape.
“Calf implants, like pectoral implants, can be custom-ordered in some cases to fit the space or the patient’s desire,” says Dr. Karen Horton, an internationally board certified plastic surgeon by both the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. “The calf space is usually quite small and the skin needs to be closed over the implant without tension.”
The recovery is typical of plastic surgery, but not without risks
“The limiting factor in the ability to fit an implant into the space behind the gastrocnemius muscle is the tight fascia layer that contains the muscle, which is not very forgiving of swelling and is not easily stretched,” says Horton. But when the surgery is performed well and the patient recovers at a normal and successful rate, the results can be dramatic and almost undetectable.
“When a patient gets calf implants, it is an ambulatory surgery, or ‘same-day’ surgery,” shares Rowe. “After the surgery, patients can expect swelling. The majority of the swelling goes down fairly quickly (in about three to six months-). However, there can swelling for up to two years.”
How much do calf implants cost?
That depends on where you go, and who you choose to have your surgery with. In New York City, where Dr. Rowe practices and often places calf implants, prices range from $3,000 to $5,000 for the procedure. In San Francisco, Dr. Horton has seen colleagues charging between $4,500 and $12,000 for the instant gratification surgery.
Recovery is very much about management
“The most important things patients should keep in mind post operatively is that swelling can last quite a while and exercise focusing on the lower extremities can’t take place for six weeks following the surgery,” says Rowe.
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