The Resection of Gastrocnemius Muscles in Aesthetically Disturbing Calf Hypertrophy

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Abstract

In some patients, oversized calves lead to mental distress and avoidance of certain social activities. They hide their legs in pants and seek medical advice. If the thickness of the subcutaneous fat is normal and cannot be diminished by liposuction, the oversized calves are caused by pure muscle hypertrophy. Using the gastrocnemius for muscle flaps in covering knee defects does not impair the function of the patient's leg; therefore, resection of the total gastrocnemius muscle for aesthetic calf reduction was performed in 15 consecutive patients without any lasting impairment with stability or sports activities. The patient was placed in a prone position, and the muscles were bluntly freed and pulled through two incisions of 5-cm length in the hollow of the knee and above the Achilles tendon. The resected muscles weighed between 410 and 810 g each. In two patients, the sural nerve was stretched or cut during the operation. The consequent numbness of the lateral ankle and sole persisted for 9 and 13 months, respectively. All 15 patients were satisfied with the results; none complained of lack of stability or insecurity in walking; and all became active in sports or changed their dress habits. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 102: 2230, 1998.)

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