Healthy Living

Liposculpture For 'Boot Bulge' Becoming Go-To Surgery Trend For Women Who Want Excess Fat Removed

Woman opening dustbin with open boot
Fashion-forward women are turning to calf liposuction to remove the dreaded “boot bulge” for a perfect fit into one of fall’s hottest trends, but should you do it? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

With temperatures falling, leaves changing colors, and pumpkin spiced edibles overstocking shelves, fashionistas are tucking away their open-toed shoes, and pulling out one of fall’s hottest trends: knee-high boots. To get the perfect fit for the shoe trend appearing on the fall runways, the fashion-forward crowd has undergone nip-and-tuck surgery, calf liposuction, to remove the dreaded “boot bulge,” but can fat removal really help women zip up?

"It's definitely a thing," said Dr. Matthew Schulman, a board certified plastic surgeon on New York City's Upper East Side to ABC News, "especially this time of year when some women aren't able to wear the boots they want." Schulman said unhappiness with legs, specifically from the knee down, is common among his patients. However, the plastic surgeon cautioned hopefuls “it’s a tricky procedure,” since microliposuction is being used to take out small amounts of fat.

Larger calf sizes in women could be due to well-developed muscles, or excess fat. Calf liposuction is able to remove the extra fat to sculpt the lower leg. Dr. John Barrett at Palm Clinic in Auckland, New Zealand, discusses on his website, this procedure is generally performed in conjunction with the ankles, known as liposculpture. Patients are put under anesthesia for the procedure, which takes anywhere from one hour to three hours. The improvement in the shape and reduction in the size of the ankle and calf area is permanent. The cost of the surgery varies to the areas that require treatment, and whether it can be treated alone or in conjunction with other areas.

Typically, any woman who has fullness to the lower part of the lower leg can benefit. However, "if the woman is an avid bike rider or runner and it's all muscle, the procedure isn't possible. There has to be at least a little fat there to perform the procedure,” Schulman said.

Women with muscular calves can use Botox to contour their calves, according to a 2004 study published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery. The authors of the study believe muscular calves “can cause psychological stress in women.” However, doctors warn that injecting large amounts of toxin into the leg muscle can be dangerous.

Sabrina, one of Schulman’s patients who did not disclose her last name, was among the many women troubled by their calves. "I'm a fairly fit person, I always exercise. It wasn't an area I could fix on my own," she told ABC News. "I assumed that if you could have liposuction on your stomach, why not on your calves?" After surgery Sabrina admitted, "I couldn't be happier." "I got a few pairs of stretch Stuart Weitzmans."

Women who are looking to get calf surgery to fit into their knee-highs this fall will have to wait a year to do so. Schulman said it can take up to 10 months to fully recover from calf liposuction, although 85 percent of women recover after four or five months. Meanwhile, they must wear a special stocking while the calf heals for a period of four weeks.

Women who do not have the extra cash to spend on calf liposuction can find wide calf boots in department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom. 

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