How soon after calf augmentation can I start walking?

I read here that a patient had to use crutches after calf implants. Is that to be expected? If so for how long? How soon will I be able to walk? How soon can I fly by airplane? How soon can I resume my normal workout (I do heavy body building to increase muscle mass on my thighs and lower body in general)? I am a thin, 29-yr old female in good health.

Doctor Answers 6

Calf implant questions

I tell my patients that walking is good, but can be difficult. Some, but not all, patients use a walker.  I also have them shower daily.  When not walking, they need to elevate their legs to control swelling and wear compression for the first month.  Exercise is not permitted for 4 weeks.  Flying should be delayed for at least a week in my practice.  Always choose a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. 

Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Walking after calf implants

Hello, you should be able to walk right out of the OR. Walking with your feet in plantar flexion or tip toe down for 2 weeks is good. In women high heels are good to use. For men shoes with higher heel area. Weight bearing at first can be kept to a minimal. No heavy exercise for 4-6 weeks. Thanks. 

Rikesh T. Parikh, MD
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Are crutches required after calf augmentation surgery? Yes, for a few days, and longer if 4 implants were added

Thank you Amber for your question.

I recommend crutches after 2 and 4 implants-calf augmentation as it is very helpful to control the post-op pain.  I use Marcaine as well postop to help with pain management (a longer-lasting local anesthetics).  Calf augmentation is a muscle-type of surgery and one needs the calf muscles to stand, walk, climb stairs, etc.  Therefore, crutches do help a lot, and more so with a 4-implant surgery.  Most of my patients will discontinue the crutches after 5-7 days.  Normal walking may take 7-14 days on average to return.  Walking gently at home is important to prevent clots in the legs, as with any surgery.  In my practice, I ask for no physical lower leg activities for 8-10 weeks.  Exercising too early the lower legs leads to seroma formation (fluid around the implants), which can become chronic.

For either a 2 or 4-implant calf augmentation surgery, it is crucial to seek an experienced plastic surgeon AND to follow the post-operative instructions.

Hope this helps!

Dr. Marc DuPere, Aesthetic and Body Contouring Plastic Surgeon

Marc DuPéré, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Calf implants - recovery?

Thank you for asking about your calf implants.

  • The worst thing you can do with calf implants is exercise too early.
  • It will predictably lead to an infection and removal of your implants.
  • I tell all my patients to get a walker so they can get around after surgery.
  • Exparel injections at the time of surgery will reduce the pain and allow earlier walking.
  • You will walk with knees bent slightly for the first 2 - 4 weeks.
  • You should not fly an  airplane for six weeks for safety.
  • You should avoid cats and dogs and should not groom or walk these pets for the first 3 weeks.
  • You can do upper body weights right after surgery but no lower body weights for 2 - 4 weeks, depending on your recovery
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Calf Implants

Like most body implants, the placement of cali implants involves trauma to the muscle area that is being enhanced. The best recovery method from any traumatic muscle injury is to begin early range of motion and mobilization. (gentle stretching) That should begin immediately on the night of the surgery as best as you tolerate. (gentle stretch with legs elevated) By the end of the first week you should be doing this upright and wearing with the heel down. With an early physical therapy program you who'll be back to most activities by three weeks after surgery.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Recovery after calf implants

Very few plastic surgeons specialize in this operation so you may have to travel a long distance to one that does. The implants are made of soft semi-solid silicone rubber and placed surgically through a small (3/4 inch) incision in a natural crease behind the knee. When the implants are properly sized and placed under the muscle fascia, they should blend in and look natural. There are too many critical nerves and blood vessels under the muscle to risk this technique. All surgery comes with post-operative pain and recovery.  For calf implants, the first two weeks after surgery is the most difficult time because walking is painful. However most patients ambulate just fine without crutches, some choose to use them for the first 3-5 days. Recovery usually progresses at a smooth steady pace after the initial two weeks. Patients can fly back home as soon as 4-5 days post-op. Driving a car is usually allowed after 7-10 days. Low intensity seated upper body workouts can resume at 2-3 weeks, standing at 4 weeks but no legs for 6 weeks...remember, you only have one chance to heal properly. Glad to help. 

Ryan Stanton, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 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.