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Is Nerve Block Procedure in Calves Safe?

In Korea, there is a new procedure where they block certain nerves in your calf muscle to make your claves smaller. Is this safe?

Doctor Answers 5

Making Calves Appear Smaller

Thank you for your question. Any "new" procedure should be evaluated in a scientific setting to determine the risks, benefits, efficacy, and discussed with the medical science community before being widely adopted. Unfortunately, not every country has such a process, and the laboratory is the clinic who wants to "try something new" . Discoveries are made, and this may prove to be a great benefit, cosmetically, but without science and research, caution is always urged. I hope this helps!


Danville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Nerve block procedures to make calves smaller

Surgical nerve division permanently damages the calf muscle and is not recommended.
Botox injections to the calves can be effective. Large doses are needed. There are no specific studies on its safety for this use.

Making calf smaller

By blocking the nerve nerves to the calf muscles, they may atrophy and therefore look smaller. The calf has 2 main muscles in back so if one muscle is treated, the other muscle will still maintain functional. There aren't any long term studies on this regarding safety. Keep in mind, using Botox to block such a large muscle is costly and will need to be repeated 3 to 4 times per a year.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Muscle Atrophy Is One Technique For Making Calfs Smaller

The technique for calf reduction to which you refer is based on muscle atrophy. It is commonly done in Korea where larger calfs are the norm although not aesthetically desired. There are two technique for creating calf muscle atrophy. One method is where they find and cut one of the motor nerves to the muscle. Without receiving any nerve input to the muscle a portion of it shrinks. The other method is the use of Botox injections into the calfs. By weakening a portion of it, some muscle reduction occurs. Repeated injections over time are required to get the most muscle shrinking. 

Making calves smaller by nerve block works but will compromise function.

Muscles atrophy (get smaller) when not used.  A large calf placed in a cast for three months will atrophy substantially.  Using nerve block or Botox or direct nerve damage will result in wasting of the muscle which will also effect funtion.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.