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Abdominal Etching

A washboard stomach can be extremely difficult to achieve, since even well-conditioned muscles can be hidden by a thin layer of fat. Abdominal etching surgery is a safe way to give the abs more definition. The plastic surgery procedure accentuates the existing muscle by removing fat, producing the highly coveted “six-pack” appearance.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Abdominal Etching?

Because abdominal etching removes precise lines of fat to reveal the patient’s natural muscle tone, the best candidate already has well-toned underlying abdominals that can be emphasized by etching. Good candidates also include patients who have undergone tummy tuck surgery or liposuction and want abdominal etching to achieve a fitter, more chiseled appearance. Those considering abdominal etching surgery should maintain a proper diet and healthy amounts of exercise, since the longevity of the surgical results depends on it.

Abdominal Etching for Men and Women

Abdominal etching is popular among men who desire a more cut and defined look. Men can find a plastic surgeon who will remove those last layers of fat to sculpt the abs and make the stomach muscles appear more prominent. In women, it can be difficult to achieve a leaner appearance, especially in the stomach. Surgeons can perform abdominal etching to produce a six-pack stomach with feminine contours.

The Abdominal Etching Procedure

The abdominal etching procedure usually takes only an hour, and can be performed as an outpatient procedure under either local or general anesthesia. Before surgery, the doctor will outline the patient’s abdominal muscles and use these lines to serve as a guide during surgery. During the procedure, several small incisions are made in the naval or the natural creases of the abdomen, where they are inconspicuous. A cannula, or a flexible tube, is then inserted through the incisions to sculpt the abs by removing excess fat along the lines of the patient’s abdominal muscles. The four or five remaining scars are very small – only about an eighth or a quarter inch in length.


Abdominal Etching Recovery

For a few weeks after abdominal etching surgery, patients will need to wear a compression garment, which should only be removed when bathing. During liposuction recovery, patients will experience bruising, swelling, and some pain, which can be eased with proper care and medication. It is important that postoperative patients limit exercise and avoid lifting weight over ten pounds and putting any pressure on the abdominal area. The full results typically become visible within six months, after the body has had ample time to heal.

As with most surgical procedures, it’s important to understand the risks before undergoing surgery, such as:


Negative reactions to anesthesia

Excessive scarring internally or of the skin where etching took place

Potential for infection after the surgery (usually occurring in first 3-5 weeks)

Unsatisfactory or uneven aesthetic results may occur if the surgeon does not correctly target fat cells for removal through the cannula

Nerve damage or permanent loss of skin sensitivity, particularly around the belly button

Be sure to discuss these potential risks and complications with your surgeon before moving forward with your treatment.

After surgery, you can expect to experience some pain and discomfort, which should be manageable using over-the-counter pain medications. Common side effects experienced after abdominal etching include swelling, bruising, and redness. Your doctor will instruct you to wear a compression garment over your abdomen for several weeks. This will reduce swelling and help the tissues to adjust to their new contours faster. For the first week or two after surgery, strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided. Most patients return to work in about a week. The physical outcome of the procedure will become fully apparent within six months, after your body has had sufficient time to heal.