Surgically severing the nerves to the gastrocnemius muscles (small yellow branches coming off the main nerve and extending in both directions) is a quick operation that will induce gradual muscle shrinkage. This is most often done on the medial gastrocnemius muscle along the inside of the leg.
Function of the muscle is fully lost. The circumference of the calf may be reduced approximately 0-3 cm (fairly insignificant), although the precise location and amount of that reduction are unpredictable.
Over time, the untreated calf muscles (lateral gastrocnemius and soleus) can hypertrophy or overdevelop to compensate for the lost muscle function, an effect that may result in a bowing-out and unevenness in calf contour.
calf viewed from back
Finally, the risk of injuring the nerves to the calf's other two muscles is high and can result in a gait disturbance.
The procedure is used less today than in years past.
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