Fat grafting is revolutionizing aesthetic body contouring and treatment of soft-tissue, volume-related issues in plastic surgery. A study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, the official publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), showed that fat grafting for correction of slender calves, (either for purely cosmetic purposes or for discrepancies in appearance between legs due to deformities, infections, or trauma,) is a viable alternative to traditional implant-based calf augmentation.

“Autologous fat augmentation offers a number of advantages over calf implants, including liposuction in adjacent areas to improve calf contour, smaller incisions, additional augmentation through subsequent fat grafting, durable results, lack of foreign body reaction, and precise patient-specific adjustments not possible with off-the-shelf implants,” notes Dr. James E. Vogel, corresponding author and ASAPS member.

Over a 5-year period, 13 patients underwent calf augmentation and reshaping with autologous fat grafting. Ten patients underwent bilateral calf augmentation, and three cases were performed for congenital leg discrepancies. Fat was harvested from the abdomen, lateral thigh, medial thigh, waistline, flanks, axilla, upper back, and hips. Irrespective of the fat harvest site, liposuction was also performed at the knee to improve contour.

“Local anesthesia was injected prior to fat transfer to utilize the smallest amount of effective anesthetic volume and to precisely place it into the muscle resulting in less sedation and more rapid postoperative recovery,” explains Dr. Vogel.

A mean of 157 cc of separated fat was transferred per leg, with roughly 60% and 40% transferred into the medial and lateral calf, respectively. Injections were first performed directly into the calf muscles and then into the subcutaneous calf tissue. Four patients underwent a second round of autologous fat injection for further calf augmentation because they desired additional volume. Fat volume was judged to be sufficient when the calf was minimally firm but not tense. At a mean of 19.6 months of follow-up, durable augmentation in calf contour was documented by comparison of standardized preoperative and postoperative photographs.

To view the complete study, visit the Aesthetic Surgery Journal site.

About the Aesthetic Surgery Journal
Aesthetic Surgery Journal is a peer-reviewed international journal focusing on scientific developments and clinical techniques in aesthetic surgery. An official publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), ASJ is also the official English-language journal of many major international societies of plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery representing South AmericaCentral AmericaEuropeAsia, and the Middle East. It is also the official journal of Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and The Rhinoplasty Society.