Fast facts


  • Calf implants are silicone-based implants that are surgically inserted into your calves.
  • Also known as calf augmentation, calf implants are used by people looking to enhance the size of their calves.


  • Overall, calf augmentation is deemed safe when performed by a credible plastic (cosmetic) surgeon.
  • The most common side effects are bruising. As with any surgery, infection and bleeding are also possibilities.
  • Calf implants may eventually rupture or become dislodged. This can require additional surgeries.


  • Calf implant surgery is done on an outpatient basis. You’ll be able to go home within the same day.
  • The actual surgery itself takes less than a few hours to complete. However, you will need to take some time off work to recover.
  • To reduce the risk of side effects and other complications, it’s important to work with an experienced and trained surgeon only.


  • The national average surgeon cost for calf implants is $3,707. The price can vary by provider, as well as where you live.
  • This doesn’t include additional costs, such as anesthesia and hospital stays.
  • Calf augmentation isn’t covered by insurance. You’ll also need to take some time off work.


  • Calf implants are designed for permanent use. However, there’s the possibility of needing to redo the surgery at some point if the implants dislodge and move away from the calves.
  • Overall, calf augmentation is considered safe and effective.

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.

According to a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average surgeon cost for calf implants was $3,707 in 2017. It’s important to note that this is the national average — your cost may be slightly lower or higher depending on where you live.

You’ll also need to consider other related costs of the procedure that aren’t covered by your surgeon fees. These include anesthesia, hospital rooms, and medications. You may also want to factor in time you need to take off from work if you don’t have enough paid time off.

Calf augmentation is an aesthetic procedure, so insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s a good idea to gather all costs ahead of time and to set up a payment plan, if needed.

Calf implants contain silicone, which is a durable rubber-like material. When inserted under the skin, it provides the area with a look of fullness. This can be helpful in providing more fullness in the calves in the absence of defined muscles. In turn, your calves will be bigger in size, too.

Calf augmentation is an outpatient procedure. This means that you’ll have the surgery at either your surgeon’s office or at a hospital, but you are able to go home the same day.

According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), calf implant surgery takes about an hour and a half to complete. This doesn’t count the prep time before surgery, as well as recovery from the anesthesia. In all, you should expect to dedicate an entire day to your procedure.

Before the actual procedure, an anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia. This puts you to sleep during the surgery so you won’t feel any pain. The anesthesia is administered locally with a mask, or intravenously via needles in your veins.

During the procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will make incisions into the calves and then insert the silicone implants. The skin is then stitched back together.

Calf implants are used to enhance the back of the lower half of your legs only. If you have other cosmetic concerns about your legs, such as thigh contouring, you will need to talk to your surgeon about any separate procedures.

Any cosmetic surgery can pose both minor and serious risks and side effects. Minor side effects from calf implant surgery can include bruising from the incision areas, as well as swelling. You might also experience redness and discomfort within the first few days.

Some people experience side effects from the anesthesia. These are immediately felt within the first few hours of the surgery and can include nausea and vomiting.

More serious side effects can include infection and excessive bleeding. Call your doctor if you notice pus or increased swelling and bleeding around the calf area.

Silicone implants also carry the risk of rupture or misplacement. You’ll be able to tell something isn’t right if your calf shrinks in size, or if the fullness moves to another area of your leg entirely. Call your surgeon right away if you think something’s wrong with the implant.

You’ll need to take at least a few days off work to fully recover from calf implant surgery. Your doctor will give you compression bandages that you’ll need to keep on for two weeks post-surgery, according to the ISAPS.

During these two weeks, you must avoid exercise and stay off your feet as much as possible. You’ll notice any bruising and inflammation from the surgery start to decrease and eventually go away in a couple of weeks.

The ISAPS recommends that you refrain from alcohol for three weeks after your surgery. This is also a crucial time to make sure you’re getting the water and nutrients your body needs for recovery. With the right nutrition and water intake, you’ll be better able to resume normal activities after a few weeks without complications.

While the results of calf augmentation are long term, they aren’t permanent. You may need to re-do the surgery after several years once the silicone implants degrade from natural wear-and-tear.

Overall, the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates a less than 1 percent complication rate with calf implant surgery.

While an outpatient procedure, it’s still a good idea to make certain preparations for your calf implant surgery. Make sure you arrive early to fill out paperwork or set up payment plans as necessary. It’s important to make arrangements for someone to drive you home.

You’ll also need to make arrangements with work for some time off. Ideally, you’ll want to take the full two weeks off, but you should take several days off at the very least.

Another option for larger calves is a procedure called fat grafting. Rather than inserting implants in your calves, fat grafting involves transferring soft skin tissues from another part of the body, such as the thighs, to the area.

In some cases, calf implants are used in conjunction with fat grafting for more precise body contouring.

Fat grafting is not as invasive and requires less anesthesia. For the best results though, your surgeon might recommend both procedures together.

It’s important to find an experienced and board-certified surgeon for this type of procedure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ database is a good place to start. You can search by region or doctor name here.

For estimated costs in your area, click here for cosmetic surgery pricing from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.