Shapeless legs with thick calf muscles are a common aesthetic problem especially in Asian women, sometimes referred to as ‘‘radish calf’’ in Chinese society. Chubby and muscular calves are of particular cosmetic concern especially in ladies in whom it may appear masculine. Excessively bulky calves are not considered aesthetically pleasing to many patients and may interfere with wearing certain types of clothing such as skinny pants or short skirts.
Bulky calves can be due to excess fat or muscle that may be genetic or acquired (such as through certain exercises). The gastrocnemius muscle rather than subcutaneous fat is a major factor determining the shape and size of muscular legs.
Neurotoxins inhibit release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction. Treatment of specific overactive muscles causes localized muscle relaxation. For contouring enlarged calves, neurotoxins are a simple non-invasive alternative to surgery without interrupting daily life. Neurotoxins are effective in contouring and reducing the volume of the calves with sustained results even after six months.
Slim, smooth calves are considered visually attractive. Unfortunately, unlike the face where makeup can be used, it is difficult to camouflage bulky calves and patients often end up covering up instead.
Invasive surgical calf volume reduction such as partial gastrocnemius muscle excision or selective neurectomy carries the scary surgical risks such as functional impairment.
Neurotoxins work rapidly and effectively with a sustained result and virtually no downtime, thus Dr Wan would recommend it as a first-line treatment over surgery.
The location and amount of toxin used are pivotal.
It is important to assess the shape of the calves in motion and at rest with a critical and meticulous eye. Placement of the correct amount of toxin at the correct locations minimizes the amount of toxin used to give an aesthetically pleasing contour while reducing cost and complications.
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