Question: I am 23 years old and have always been teased about the shape of my legs. My brother says that my legs look like stovepipes. I work out three times a week and am not overweight. I have used the Stairmaster and the gym’s leg machines religiously for years without attaining any definition to my legs. Is there a surgery procedure that could improve their shape?
Answer: The lack of definition in the lower leg is usually secondary to lipodystropy (excessive fat accumulation). This can be hereditary. There are also some medical conditions that can cause thick legs, such as lymphedema. You would need to be evaluated to determine whether this or any other problem could be affecting you. The absence of definition between the knee and ankle has been referred to as a kankle. The treatment for kankles is liposuction to sculpt the calf muscle and taper the ankle. This is an outpatient surgery. Post-operative swelling can take several months to resolve; compression stockings are required to help minimize this and to assist in shaping the leg and ankle.
This procedure does require an experienced surgeon. I recommend that you consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic surgery.
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Questions are answered by Dr. Mark A. Foglietti, a nationally recognized, board-certified plastic surgeon