Washboard Abs - Does Abdominal Etching Work?

In houston a doctor has a treatment for washboard abs called abdominal etching. It sounds like it's a special technique using liposuction. Is this only offered in houston? do you recommend it. If not, would any other procedure work to get a more defined ab?

Doctor Answers (3)

Washboard Abs - Abdominal Etching Liposuction


High Def lipo, Abdominal Etching, Differential Liposuction etc are all liposuction techniques in which the amount of fat removed from the muscles is NOT of the same thickness and therefore enhances the visibility of the underlyiong musculature. In MY opinion. while a skilled Plastic surgeon can remove fat from skin an simulate the presence of ripped muscles, the appearance looks fake and done. Similar to wearing a roman military chest piece which had idealized, exaggerated non-moving male "muscles" to intimidate the enemy. You will get a much better more natural result, if you did work out and the Plastic surgeon unveiled YOUR real muscles by selectively DIFFERENTIALLY removed fat along the muscle borders accentuating your own anatomy.

There are skilled, artistic and forward thinking Plastic surgeons in most large cities in the Western world. Do your research and you will find one.

Good Luck.

Peter A Aldea, MD

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Abdominal Etching

Abdominal etching is a micro liposuction technique that works to remove excess fat from between the abdominal muscles. It leaves behind a series of indentations that look similar to "six-pack" abs, giving patients a tighter, firmer and better defined stomach appearance. Since the ideal etching candidate has only a small amount of abdominal fat, it is most commonly performed on male athletes and models who wish to improve muscle detail. It is a popular form of liposuction for men, but is also performed on women seeking the same type of lean look.

The procedure involves the use of liposuction techniques (and can be performed alongside traditional abdominoplasty), but differs in several ways. The primary goal of etching is to enhance the appearance of the abdominal musculature through superficial liposuction. On the other hand, abdominoplasty looks to tighten the abdominal wall muscles, excise extra skin and remove larger amounts of overall fat. Instead of removing pockets of fat from the stomach area, etching works to deepen the natural grooves of the abdominal muscles.

For these reasons, abdominal etching is best suited to patients who are already physically fit. They should have fairly small amounts of fat obscuring the definition of the stomach muscles.For men, those with a total body fat percentage in excess of 18% are usually not candidates and for women, it should not exceed 25%. As a result, it is best suited for patients who are fitness models, bodybuilders and athletes.

I offer it at my practice in Toronto, Ontario, so you can find it outside of Houston.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Yes, Etching works and is taught at the ASAPS conference for aesthetic plastic surgeons.

Yes, many plastic surgeons perform etching, high def, 3D and other forms of differential liposuction named because slightly more fat is left above the muscle belly and more is removed over the tendenous portion. Liposuction was originally a surgery for debulking and reducing and has become a surgery that involves careful contouring and shaping to enhance the natural form. Many plactic surgeons do this kind of suction now and it can unveil and augment your natural contours depending on your goals. Modified abdominal etching includes thinning the abdominal fat pad, etching in the linea albe (the vertical crease above the belly button), etching the linea semilunaris (the soft lateral or outside edge of the rectus muscle). Full abdominal etching also adds the horizontal transverse inscriptions that make the six pack. Here are some tips for abdominal etching :
  1.  Keep your incision scars low so that it is hidden in the smallest bathing suit
  2. Have your surgeon use Xeralto or Lovenox to reduce your risk of blood clots
  3. Use incrimental compression garments during and after surgery to reduce risk of leg blood clots
  4. The surgeon places the marks when you are standing and abdominal muscles are flexed
  5. I prefer power assisted liposuction but there are a few talented surgeons using Vaser
  6. Your surgeon gently shape your abdominal flap to create a more athletic appearance and muscular contour
  7. Etching is aggressive fat removal to enhance six pack grooves
  8. Foam padding is used in the etched areas to improve the early results
  9. Begin post operative massage one to two weeks after surgery to speed recovery
  10. Begin with a board certified plastic surgeon and visit several offices
  11. Choose a surgeon with good experience, doing more than 100 per year
  12. Internet discussions do not replace the advice of your physician

Henry Mentz, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.