Can We Change the Contour of Our Legs?
As almost any woman will tell you, finding a way to make our legs appear slimmer and more shapely is a constant challenge. Diet and exercise usually just doesn’t cut it either. Leg fat is stubborn! The important thing to remember is, as awful as we may feel while staring at that dressing room mirror, we are not alone – and the problem isn’t necessarily our fault. Blame your parents, gals! For many of us, our hefty thighs, fatty knees and ‘cankles’ are actually hereditary. (Sucks, but it’s true). In other words, no matter what we do, IT’S OUR MOM’S FAULT, (or maybe dad’s, but either way, you get to point a finger here). In the case of slim or slender calves, this might be a result of congenital leg discrepancies.
Of course, we’re not entirely blameless. Our poor dietary habits, lack of exercise, and the stresses of life are absolutely playing a crucial part. The good news is that we actually have a wide variety of options at our disposal when diet and exercise just won’t do the trick.
The most popular option of all, of course, is Liposuction. Liposuction for the contouring of the legs can be very successful if performed carefully. Fat is the ‘liquid gold’ that enables plastic surgeons to fill in hollows, add volume, contour and reshape. It takes on the properties of the area it is injected into, which in this case are the muscles in the calf area. “The procedure will take approximately 1-2 hours and can be performed under local anesthesia. You see the results in 6-12 weeks. Touch ups may be needed for problem areas after a 6-month wait-and-see period,” says Dr. Peter Neumann of Nassau Plastic Surgical Associates in Roslyn, NY.
The newest trend for fat removal is SculpSure. This laser system will provide contour changes without surgery or downtime. “The procedure can be done in the office with no anesthesia in an area where there is excessive fat. One treatment takes 24 minutes. Results can be seen in as little as 3 weeks and improves over a 12 week period. It can be done again if difficult areas persist. The cost of SculpSure is less than 1/2 of conventional liposuction procedures. If you’re pressed for time and need quick results, it is a much better choice,” says Dr. Neumann.
If traditional lipo isn’t for you, there are other options to consider as well. “Smart Lipo Laser Liposuction harnesses the power of a laser to permanently melt fat cells that are then removed from the body with light suction,” says Ulysses H. Scarpidis, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon of Scarpidis Aesthetics in New York, NY.
Smart Lipo is performed in the office under local anesthesia with minimal downtime. “In my experience, the added benefit of using Smart Lipo Laser Liposuction, rather than traditional liposuction, to treat excess fat bulges of the legs, is its ability to further tighten the skin and improve cellulite. In untrained hands, liposuction may actually worsen cellulite. Choosing the right board-certified plastic surgeon to examine your legs and offer the best technique is essential in properly shaping your legs, tightening your skin, and improving your cellulite,” says Dr. Scarpidis.
Prior to fat grafting to the calves, aesthetic plastic surgeons only used calf implants for augmentative purposes. However, in a study published in the _Aesthetic Surgery Journal_, fat grafting to the calves proved to be a more viable alternative to implant-based calf augmentation for reasons such as small incisions, patient-specific adjustable results, and lack of foreign body reactions since the patient’s own fat is being used.
To find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area with experience contouring legs, use our Smart Beauty Guide’s Find-A-Surgeon tool here