Abdominal Etching | SurgiSculpt.
Author: Babak Moein, MD FACSBoard-certified,
Fellowship trained in Cosmetic Surgery

Abdominal Etching

Abdominal Etching CASE STUDIES

See What Abdominal Etching Can Do for You

Abdominal etching is a unique body contouring procedure, as it can only be performed by expert cosmetic surgeons specializing in high definition abdominal liposuction. This article was written to dispel the myths surrounding this very unique surgical procedure. For starters, the abdominal etching procedure is lengthier than traditional liposuction cases since it requires more detailed removal of fat pockets requiring longer operative times even though it can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Ideal candidates should be near their ideal body weight, live healthy lifestyles, maintain a healthy diet, and describe a history of attempting to strive for six-pack abs. Plastic surgeons may complete abdominal etching by removing the body fat from the abdominal muscles. Moreover, it is necessary to use VASER liposuction technology to achieve abdomen etching since comprehensive elimination of the fat cells must be achieved to create a chiseled or lean-appearing abdomen.

Abdominal etching requires the removal of both the deep and superficial fat layers. Traditional liposuction is limited to the partial removal of deep fat only. In contrast, VASER liposuction is capable of removing not only all of the deep but also the superficial fat selectively. Removal of both the superficial and deep layers of fat from the abdomen is essential to unveiling highlights of the underlying muscles.

Abdominal etching requires sculpting certain natural shadows created by natural gulleys, including semilunaris, linea alba, and inscriptions. 3D liposuction of these gulleys results in defining the rectus muscles to create the six-pack in males and four-pack in females. Highly skilled surgeons are akin to expert sculptors as they possess an appreciation of the muscle anatomy and can contour to detail your unique abdominal musculature.

Abdominal etching myths and facts

Abdominal etching requires unveiling the muscles that you possess. This may seem intuitive, but we have routinely seen failed attempts to do abdominal etching wherein the etching of abdominal muscles results in boxy appearing muscle forms representing unnatural linear lines. This misrepresentation of the abdominal muscles is characterized by cobblestone appearance and coined the Ninja Turtle look. Instead, the abdominal muscles must depict exactly what is there naturally. This means perfectly symmetric muscle bellies or completely asymmetric muscles completely dependent on your anatomy. Whereas the deep fat is removed completely, the superficial fat undergoes differential liposuction. This means superficial liposuction provides the opportunity for your surgeon to guide the degree of muscle highlights created. Superficial liposuction will be done more aggressively over the gulleys. In contrast, superficial liposuction will be performed lightly over the apex of the muscle bellies. In fact, it is superficial liposuction that utilizes the advantage of VASER liposuction. Whereas tumescent liposuction is used in all liposuction techniques, alternative liposuction modalities such as power-assisted liposuction, laser-liposuction, and traditional liposuction are not amenable to superficial liposuction.

Differential liposuction is the art of high definition liposuction that is most difficult to master. In fact, it is differential liposuction during superficial liposuction that will best detail the nuances of muscle shape and form. Controlling liposuction cannula debts, angles, and pressure influence the amount of fat removed and are critical during superficial liposuction. ferential liposuction is utilized when performing liposuction of the deep layers. The degree of superficial liposuction must be guided by several factors. The first factor affecting superficial liposuction is the size of the muscle bellies. The stronger the muscle mass, the less superficial liposuction is needed to unveil muscle highlights. The second factor is the degree of skin laxity and redundancy. When there is minimal to moderate skin laxity, then the superficial liposuction may be limited in order to avoid contour irregularities caused by skin redundancy. When there is moderate skin redundancy, it might be prudent to supplement your superficial liposuction with Renuvion J plasma technology. When there is moderate to severe skin redundancy, it might be prudent to supplement your cosmetic surgery with an excision or tucking procedure. In summary, it becomes apparent that surgical technique and design are critical to achieving realistic muscular definition. Abdominal etching techniques are clearly an art form that extends beyond plastic surgery. Evaluation of skin elasticity and skin tone is critical to achieving superior results.

Another misconception regarding abdominal etching is that the muscle bellies are created by filling them in with fat grafting. This notion follows the ability of high definition liposuction surgeons to fill the buttock, such as in the Brazilian Buttock Lift, or the chest, as in the creation of the armor chest plate. Unfortunately, the abdominal rectus muscles are too thin to accommodate intramuscular fat grafting. Attempts at grafting these muscles will result in the placement of fat cells under the muscle bellies, which is a loose plane that will not accommodate the fat viability. Instead, differential liposuction techniques are employed to achieve three-dimensional contours of muscle shapes and the creation of natural shadows.

Abdominal Etching Description:

  • Procedure: Gold standard procedure in liposuction that eliminates excess fat and redundant skin that may have accumulated over the abdomen that results in etching of the abdominal muscles.
  • Length: 2 to 3 hours, depending on the amount of excess fat and whether skin tightening is required.
  • Anesthesia: General anesthesia is required for this body contouring surgery
  • Place of Treatment: Outpatient surgical suite in a surgery center

Side Effects of Abdominal Etching:

1) Early swelling will be observed from 1 week to 1 month once compression garments are not worn continuously. Prolonged swelling up to 3 months may occur infrequently if the patient has poor lymphatic drainage or poor nutrition. Lymphatic drainage will minimize the risk of prolonged swelling. In addition, nutrition optimization with 150mg/day of protein intake will also minimize swelling.

2)Seroma is the name of accumulated plasma fluid and oils in the most dependent pockets (around your pubic region) that can occur as you become more upright following surgery. Seromas are avoided with strict adherence to wearing the provided, customized compression garments. Typically, seromas will be identified and drained during your aggressive serial lymphatic messages over the first ten days after surgery.

3)Loss of definition may occur when postoperative care is not followed appropriately. Fluid accumulation may occur as above if compression garments are not worn around the clock. Pockets of fat may form if fat aspirates and residual tumescent fluid are not drained by serial lymphatic messages. Weight gain should be avoided, and a healthy lifestyle must be followed. Getting washboard abs is not feasible for most clients, but preserving your gains is much more manageable once you have undergone lipo etching.

Risks of Abdominal Etching:

Although skin compromise may occur following abdominal etching, most cases are observed in patients with nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, immune deficiency, or a smoking history. Skin compromise may occur following abdominal etching and typically result in skin discolorations.

Both the medical condition and nutritional deficiencies can be corrected before surgery. In addition, Nitro paste is used in the operating room to stimulate increased blood flow to areas that may demonstrate early signs of vascular compromise, thus mitigating any major skin compromise.

Postop following Abdominal Etching

Recovery: The recovery for high definition liposuction abdominal etching may be variable requiring as little as 1 to 2 weeks, depending on your pain tolerance and whether you require skin excision to tighten loose skin. Patients who return to the gym no later than 2 to 3 weeks following surgery will observe the increased definition of the abdominal muscles.

Duration of Results: Patients are universally pleased with their abdominal etching outcomes since the transformations are inspiring. Patients will preserve their results as long as they keep an active lifestyle and maintain their weight. Weight gain is not recommended despite the jaw-dropping results provided by advanced liposuction techniques. Outstanding liposuction outcomes are achieved when an ideal candidate for liposuction is chosen and a superior liposuction technique is utilized. Body liposuction has evolved considerably over the last decade to allow minimal scarring due to liposuction access port protectors and advanced techniques.

Abdominal Etching Frequently Asked Questions:

Abdominal etching refers to the extreme removal of fat, such that the underlying muscle anatomy becomes visible. An artistic eye and sculpting abilities will limit the quality of results attained. The etched muscles include the rectus muscles, external oblique muscles, and the serratus muscle. Muscle tone observed following abdominal etching is predicated on a healthy muscle mass. Well-developed abdominal muscles and a healthy weight will only help your cosmetic surgeon achieve your goals. Remember that abdominal etching is not a form of weight loss or an opportunity to have a sculpted abdomen.

You are a good candidate for abdominal etching if you want to have a "superhero" looking abdominal appearance. Patients are assessed for the amount of excess fat and degree of skin redundancy. Fat removal is performed with VASER technology which is the most intricate part of this surgery and requires detailed sculpting. Patients with minimal to moderate skin redundancy will require supplemental Renuvion skin tightening procedure. Patients with moderate to severe skin redundancy may require a synchronous mini tummy tuck and/or reverse tummy tuck procedure.

Immediately following your abdominal etching surgery, you will realize a "six" pack if you are a man or a "four" pack if you are a woman. You will observe this spectacular transformation as early as one day following your surgery when you are unveiled at our center to have your first lymphatic message. Starting at one week and until one month following surgery, you may notice some loss of definition during your healing process, especially as you start to take your compression garment off. However, at 2 to 3 months of recovery time, you will appreciate your etched-out abdomen in its full glory!

You need to plan for numerous items when considering abdominal etching surgery. First, you need to start building your abdominal muscles: the rectus, the serratus, and the external oblique muscles. This can be done by performing crunches, sit-ups, and abdominal rotational resistance exercises. Remember that you want a six-pack, so the stronger your abdominal muscles, the more they will shine following the comprehensive removal of fat.

Your abdominal etching surgery will be performed at our surgical facility. High-definition liposculpture and, even more importantly, six-pack liposculpture can only be performed with general anesthesia.

Abdominal etching patients have a range of recovery from 1 week to 3 weeks, depending on the extent of fat removed and the degree of skin redundancy. One week of recovery is typical for patients requiring minimal to moderate fat removal and with excellent skin texture. If patients have moderate to severe fat or require skin tightening with a mini excision, then a 2 to 3-week recovery may be required. Patient recovery periods discussed above include the date of return to work and full physical activity.

Abdominal Etching Patient-Specific Questions:

Abdominal etching via high definition liposuction results in the accurate and meticulous removal of fat around the abdominal muscles. What your six-pack will look like is dependent on your actual muscle anatomy. The key to creating natural appearing muscles is to etch out what is there; interestingly, the muscles on each side of your abdomen may be differently shaped and positioned.

The ninja turtle look is an operated fake-looking result of the abdominal region, which occurs when a surgeon attempts to create his/her impression of what the abdominal muscles should look like. This results in fake and squared-off rectus muscles that look awkward. The important lesson is that the artistry in abdominal etching involves the accuracy of carving out the muscle shapes that are naturally there and not trying to recreate symmetric but artificial-looking muscle bellies.

The patients who expedite their recovery and resolution of swelling maintain a low salt diet and return to the gym as early as 1 to 2 weeks following surgery. Both anaerobic (weight lifting) and aerobic exercises minimize postoperative swelling and allow you to appreciate your final abdominal packs earlier. All swelling will generally resolve in three months, but this phase can be shortened with increased physical activity.


SurgiSculpt Was the PERFECT CHOICE

I had 2 previous Liposuction Procedures prior and was extremely discouraged with my results. Once I talked to SurgiSculpt, I was convinced the 3rd time was the charm and I could not be happier. He revised my abdomen and I couldn't be happier! I would 100% recommend SurgiSculpt to anyone looking to get any body contouring procedure.

They Gave Me my Dream Body

I am so appreciative of SurgiSculpt. I see significant improvements of my body from before the surgery. I had one concern in my body that my surgeon was quick to fix. He addressed all of my issues and my tiny and narrow waist is just what I wanted. My butt looks amazing and now my body is exactly how I could only have dreamed to have it. I recommend him to all my friends and family. I have my dream body now and I absolutely love it. Thank you so much Dr. M! I also love Polly, she made the experience so nice and I recommend her massages.

I’m starting to feel normal again!

So I'm 15 days PO! I am totally mobile now. Not depend on anyone for about 10 days now. My husband went back to work after 5 days. I just couldn't drive because I was told not to. Oh man, hardest thing about this, and or what I read it's been only me in so many! I could not shower till my drains were taken out! I went back to PS 1 wk po. Although fluid had been minimal the whole week, I didn't get them removed since it had gone back to red. I was sent back today to I take more protein, mainly shakes. I did and got them out by day 11! Omg! I instantly felt so much better! I had bees still very hunched next day I was almost standing straight! Been mostly pain free minor discomforts here bad there and of course by the end of he day I'm done! But getting easier each day.

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