Summary: Liposuction has a knack for being innovative, so nothing should really shock us about the new ways the procedure has been used. But this one treatment seems a little extreme, at least at first glance: women are using liposuction to remove fat from their calves. Why? Because they want to fit into the knee-high boots that become popular at this time of year (every year). But as we think about it, this isn’t really all that different from many other types of cosmetic surgery and the goals of those procedures. So what makes calf liposuction so different?

Target Locked

Liposuction is an innovative procedure that has many more targets than the traditional ones it handles so well. Sure, we’re used to thinking of liposuction as that tool of last resort to eliminate unwanted belly fat. But liposuction—and all variations and support systems there of—have much broader applications. This is because modern liposuction is an excellent way to sculpt targeted areas. In other words, the end result looks so natural that it’s unsurprising patients are looking to use it in all sorts of areas.

Give Them the Boot

Perhaps, then, we should not be shocked when ABC News ran a report detailing a new trend in the ever-merging fields of both fashion and plastic surgery. According to the report, more women are opting to use microliposuction procedures to eliminate excess fat in their calves. The reason? Most women in the report cited the desire to fit into the tight fitting, knee-high boots that come into style in the fall—when it’s suddenly too cold for sandals and open-toed stilettos.

At first glance, this seems like an extreme use of liposuction, especially given the possible 10 month recovery period. Granted, most patients are close to fully recovered (in the 80-90 percent range) in the first four months or so, but it’s still an awfully long commitment, all things considered.

It’s Always About the Fit

Then again, this isn’t the first time that patients—particularly but not exclusively women—undergo elective cosmetic procedures for the benefit of better fitting clothes. Breast lifts or breast reductions are often pitched to women as a way to fit into clothes better. Indeed, on the male side, the same can be said of gynecomastia—or, the removal of male breasts.

So perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to cast this particular liposuction trend as extreme. Indeed, many people choose to have liposuction on their arms so that they can enjoy a more liberating wardrobe—tank tops and sleeveless dresses and so on. So it’s not as though this particular dimension to plastic surgery is anything new. So why is that this boot bulge battle seems so extreme?

Fat, Not Muscle

It’s a good question, and I’m not sure it’s entirely because this use of liposuction is relatively novel. Maybe it’s because the calf is such a difficult area to treat. If you’re a runner, for example, and have ample muscle, liposuction isn’t really an option. According to the website of the Minneapolis liposuction experts at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, liposuction itself is a treatment that exclusively targets fat. Which means if your calf is full of muscle (as many calves are), liposuction is not an option.

Fit or Fitness

So, in a way, this procedure seems to be at odds with the traditional method of staying healthy: exercise. Of course, you can’t “target” exercise to eliminate the fat you do have on your calves, so there’s something of a catch-22 happening here. And in that way, plastic surgery seems to be one of the few viable solutions to what, if we’re really honest about it, is a problem caused by modern fashion more than anything else.

Let’s Just be Happy

It’s difficult to blame women, after all, for wanting to achieve what fashion tells them should be effortless: owning the best clothes and feeling good in those clothes. Often, the fashion industry sets standards that are impossible to meet organically. And yet, the promise of trendy—fashionable—clothes seems to be that the wearer is, almost magically, imbued with happiness and prosperity. It’s no wonder then, that women turn to plastic surgery to achieve this particular effect.

In other words, we should cease characterizing calf liposuction as some kind of extreme or outlier procedure. Women pursue this treatment for the same reason they pursue something like breast augmentation or a tummy tuck—increased confidence, increased self-esteem, and the ability to be the person they really want to be. Because there’s no denying the rush—the joy—that comes with finding that perfect pair of boots. It’s even better when the boot fits.

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