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Calf and Ankle Liposuction - How to lose calf and ankle fat

Calf and ankle liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure to remove stubborn fatty deposits from the calf and ankle. This is sometimes referred to as ‘cankle liposuction’, in reference to how the leg does not taper down at the ankle, giving the appearance of the calf and ankle blending into one - hence ‘cankles’.

Tagged: Body & Breast

Author: Mr. Bryan Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

Date: 23rd December 2021

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 22nd January 2024

What is calf and ankle liposuction?

Calf and Ankle Liposuction is a fat removal procedure which targets the lower legs and ankles. Your Calf Liposuction will be carried out as a day case at our award-winning Chelsea clinic.

On the day of the procedure, you will be sedated and the consultant will then make a series of tiny incisions before inserting a fine tube called a cannula into the calves and ankles. The cannula is moved around to break up the fat cells before the unwanted fat cells are sucked out using a vacuum. The treatment area is drained of any excess fluid and blood before being stitched and bandaged. You will be able to leave the clinic with a friend or family member on the same day as your calf and ankle liposuction.

Once these fat cells are removed, they do not grow back, meaning your calves and ankles will keep their new shape, as long as you maintain a healthy weight.

After your Calf and Ankle Liposuction, you must follow all the aftercare advice issued by your surgeon in order not to hamper the healing process, including refraining from exercise and wearing a compression garment if required. If you follow all these instructions, you can expect a full recovery from your calf liposuction and ankle liposuction by six weeks post-surgery.

What is meant by cankles?

Cankles - a lack of definition between the calf and the ankle, creating a heavy or thick looking ankle - are a common concern for many people. Cankles can result in an unbalanced or out of proportion appearance to the legs, making people self-conscious about wearing clothes which reveal their legs or are tight fitting, such as leggings, skirts or shorts.

Cankles can have a number of causes. Dramatic weight gain is one of the most common factors, and losing weight in this area can be challenging, leaving stubborn fat. Cankles can also be caused by medical conditions which lead to fluid retention around the ankles. Unfortunately, Liposuction cannot treat fluid retention, and this is something you should discuss with your GP to understand the underlying causes.

What Does It Involve?

Calf Liposuction and Ankle Liposuction are simple cosmetic procedures, but they can both produce life-changing results.

The main improvement from Cankle Liposuction is the elimination of fat calves and ankles. Cankle Liposuction can restore definition to the calves and ankles, making the lower leg look leaner and more toned. Liposuction is also a great way to tackle the problem of asymmetry, ensuring that the calves and ankles look the same size and shape on either side.

By improving the aesthetic of the lower leg using Liposuction, this can improve self-confidence and self-esteem. If you are so unhappy with the appearance of your calves and ankles that it prevents you from wearing certain items of clothing, for example shorts, skirts or swimwear, then Ankle and Calf Liposuction will give you back the confidence to dress how you want. This in turn will improve your mental wellbeing. 

Liposuction is also used as a treatment for a condition called Lipedema. Calf Liposuction will help if the condition is particularly severe and painful.

It is important to understand that Calf Liposuction is not a treatment for cellulite. However, there are treatments which can be carried out alongside calf liposuction to help with this particular problem. Anyone who opts for Calf Liposuction must also understand that the results of surgery is limited by the muscle present in the leg. Liposuction only works on fatty deposits, not muscle.

Who is suitable?

Cadogan Clinic considers individuals fit for Calf Liposuction and Ankle Liposuction, if they meet the following criteria.

  • Are physically and psychologically fit and healthy
  • Are a healthy weight and not obese
  • Are bothered by the appearance of fat calves or fat ankles
  • Are suffering from painful lipedema
  • Have calf and ankle fat which cannot be removed by diet and exercise alone
  • Have reasonable skin elasticity
  • Have realistic expectations of what can be achieved through calf and ankle liposuction

What treatments can be combined with this form of liposuction?

Calf Liposuction and Ankle Liposuction can be combined with other treatments, including Liposuction on other parts of the body. Patients who undergo Calf and Ankle Liposuction often choose to combine this treatment with Liposuction of the knees and thighs, to enhance the result and create a slender, more defined, leg overall.

Once fat has been removed from the calf and ankle via Liposuction, it can be used in Fat Transfer treatments. This surgical treatment sees the fat removed from one area of the body and introduced to another part of the body via injection. Fat transfer is often used by surgeons to introduce volume to parts of the body such as the face, breasts or buttocks.

Another treatment that you may wish to consider if you are planning to have Calf Liposuction is Cellulaze, a sophisticated laser treatment designed to treat cellulite.

How much does calf liposuction cost?

Calf liposuction costs upwards of £3,950 at the Cadogan Clinic. If you are having other areas of liposuction at the same time, then you can expect to pay more.

Two areas of liposuction costs £6,000 and three areas of liposuction costs £6,900.

The cost of ankle and calf liposuction includes up to two 30 minute – 60 minute consultations with a leading specialist plastic surgeon at our award-winning premises in Chelsea, your procedure carried out at London’s leading specialist cosmetic surgery centre of excellence, 24/7 on call nurse assistance, a dedicated patient co-ordinator, as a personal point of contact through your journey with Cadogan, a pre-operative medical assessment to ensure you are fit for surgery and a comprehensive post-operative aftercare courtesy of our specialist cosmetic nurses.

All quoted costs online are guide prices only, and subject to confirmation following your in person consultation.

Calf and ankle liposuction cost in the UK is not subject to VAT as it is a medical procedure.

This type of liposuction is rarely available on the NHS for cosmetic purposes. Sometimes calf liposuction may be funded by the NHS as a treatment for lipedema. Check with your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Why do we get fat calves and fat ankles?

There are a number of different causes of fat calves and fat ankles, also known as cankles.

Genes play a major role in the appearance of fat calves and ankles.

If one or both of your parents had oversized ankles, then this makes you more likely to suffer with them. You may lack a natural well-defined calf muscle, even if you are physically fit and active. This lack of definition contributes to the appearance of cankles.

Fat ankles and fat calves may also be caused by lipedema, a painful condition that causes fat to be stored beneath the skin on the legs. The condition is more prevalent in women than in men, with around 11 percent of women suffering with lipedema. Sometimes lipedema can run in families, but it is can also be caused by hormonal changes, for example in puberty, pregnancy, menopause or from taking the contraceptive pill

Being overweight is also a major factor in whether a person has fat ankles and fat calves. This is often caused by an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise. A poor diet may include a large amount of sugary foods and drinks, and lack in sufficient amounts of protein and fibre. Eating foods which are rich in fibre, can help to prevent fat from forming. Alcohol consumption is also known to cause fat. This is because alcohol contains a high number of calories and many types of alcoholic drinks are high in sugar too.

Physical inactivity is a major contributor to the formation of fat. The NHS recommends that we do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. Ideally, this should be spread evenly over four or five days. But even if you are doing the recommended amount of exercise, if you have an otherwise sedentary lifestyle, this can still cause fat to form on the calves and ankles. For example, you may sit at a computer all day for work or spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV in the evening.

High stress levels and poor sleep may also prompt us to make poor lifestyle choices, such as eating sugary foods or drinking more alcohol than is recommended, thus making us more likely to develop fat all over the body, including on the calves and ankles.

Fluid build-up, caused by a high sodium intake, and pregnancy-related fluid retention can also be the root cause of fat ankles.

If you are unsure of the cause of your fat calves or ankles, or if one side starts to swell for no apparent reason, seek medical advice. This may be the symptom of a more serious health condition.

What else can I do to reduce fat in these areas?

Two major things you can do to help you lose weight from the legs, ankles and from the body generally is to improve your diet, and exercise more.  Introducing more fruit and vegetables, fibre and protein to your diet, while eliminating food and drinks packed with sugar, will help to bring your fat levels down. Cutting alcohol consumption will also have an impact.

As mentioned above, you should increase your exercise levels to at least 150 minutes a week and try to ensure you get up from your desk regularly and break up periods of inactivity.

There are a number of exercises which can help you to lose calf fat. Exercises which build muscle mass, such as a heel and calf raise, can help. A heel and calf raise is a simple exercise which involves standing upright with your arms crossed over your chest. You then lift your heels and rise up on your toes, holding the position for a few seconds before lowering back again. Aim to repeat this 10 to 15 times, holding a sturdy object to help you balance if needed.

Simple calf muscle stretches can also help. You can do this by standing at arm’s length away from a wall. Put one foot in front of the other, bending your leading leg forward and keeping the knee of your back leg straight. The heel of the back leg should be flat on the floor, your back straight and hips forward. Aim to hold this stretch for 30 seconds before swapping legs and repeating the exercise.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to lose unwanted weight. HIIT is a comprehensive whole body workout which helps to shed hard-to-lose fat while improving the muscles.

But shedding calf fat doesn’t have to involve high-impact exercise. Walking is a gentle, low-impact, form of exercise which can help you to lose calf fat.

Treatments for lipedema include wearing compression stockings or bandages and looking after your skin.

But despite making all the changes listed above, you may find that some stubborn calf fat remains. Calf and ankle liposuction is the best way to safely and effectively remove the fat which cannot be shifted by a healthy diet, exercise and positive lifestyle changes. 

Contact the Cadogan Clinic to book an appointment with one of our expert surgeons to discuss how we can help you get rid of unwelcome calf and ankle fat.

Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Liposuction for the calves and ankles can be offer patients new confidence in their appearance. By targeting cankle fat, individuals often find themselves more at ease wearing clothing that showcases their legs, such as skirts and shorts, as well as revealing footwear like sandals. Liposuction surgery is about enhancing both physical comfort and confidence, allowing individuals to embrace a wider range of styles and activities with greater ease and satisfaction.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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