The Next Trend in Plastic Surgery

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There are plenty of unconventional body-modification procedures out there—you really can have your nipples reduced or your cheeks fixed up with dimples. But ever since a study was published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal last year, one type of surgery seems to be increasing in popularity. And it’s probably not what you’re expecting.

Yep: We’re talking about calf augmentation. “Fat grafting has been used by plastic surgeons for a long time, however it has not been used regularly on the calf,” says study author James Vogel, an associate professor of plastic surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Many people are self-conscious about their lower leg appearance and…my study has helped the procedure become more widely known.”

Here’s the basic rundown of how calf augmentation works: A doctor performs liposuction on an area of the body containing unwanted fat. Then the fat is grafted onto the calves to make them larger. Silicone implants have been the most traditional method of calf augmentation, but as Vogel notes in his article, they also come with the risks of hyperpigmentation, infection, protrusion through the skin, and therapeutic seromas (pockets of fluid). Fat transfers, on the other hand, offer smaller scars, the ability to increase size with future procedures, lack of foreign body rejection, and more precise patient adjustment. “Patients can expect a natural-looking calf that looks more muscular and shapely,” says Vogel. “Just as important, the results improve people’s self-esteem.”

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