Muscle Etching?

I frequently find information on abdominal etching but not on etching of other muscles. Is it more complicated to etch other areas of the body such as arms and thighs because of asymmetry or has it just not a popular procedure?

Doctor Answers 10


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I think we have advanced our techniques and now we routinely improve the contour of different areas like the biceps, triceps, deltoid, and pecs. To improve this area we rely on not only the hi def liposuction, that not only remove the fat but sculpts volumetrically certain areas to enhance natural borders and depression to accentuate the underlying muscular anatomy. So it's not only what you take but what you leave behind. In certain areas, we add fat. 

Best, Dr. RG

Vaser hi def lipo 4d

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I appreciate your question.

Vaser assisted liposuction utilizes ultrasound to emulsify or melt felt prior to removal. It is also used to etch or define the muscles and normal anatomy to enhance the results. I use a specialized technique to remove the deeper fat areas and sculpt the superficial fat, so that one can achieve the goal of having not only a flatter stomach but also a more defined and curvaceous body if wanted.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.  Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic plastic surgery and high definition body contouring.


Best of luck!


Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon



3D contouring requires experience and is rarely done in the extremities

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Many thanks for your interesting question. Contouring for asymmetry is commonly performed on legs and arms to even our large vs small sizes. There are many patients with differences that can be improved but not completely solved. 
1. Begin with a board certified plastic surgeon and visit several offices
2. Seek a surgeon who does at least 100 of these procedures per year
3. Internet discussions do not replace the advice of your physician

Henry Mentz, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Lipo etching of other areas besides the abdomen

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Lipo etching of abdominal region is common. Lipo etching of extremities is uncommon. It has higher complication rate when compared to lip etching of abdomen, truck or chest. The most common complication includes contour irregularities and skin depression.

Lipo etching of the chest or the pectoralis major muscles is a very common procedure and is associated with high patient satisfaction rate as well as lipo etching of abdomen. 


Jaime Perez M.D FACS

Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa

Lipo etching Specialist

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Muscle etching

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Hi.  i'm not a big fan of this procedure.  It's essentially making little pockets of fat more prominent, as though they were muscles.  It might look good in one photo, but doesn't tend to look so good in real life, or as you age.

The only reliable way to be the "ripped" look is to work on muscle development and a low body fat percentage. It's hard work.

Etching with liposuction

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There may be a greater concern of complications from muscle etching on the limbs compared with the trunk because of circulation and thinner skin. It certainly is not commonly done, and has a higher risk of ulceration and scarring and producing an undesirable appearance of the skin from a lack of dermis and subcutaneous tissue being left behind, than when conventional liposuction is done.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Body contouring

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I personally do not believe in this technique for a variety of reasons.  Essentially plastic surgeons are trying to add definition by liposuction which can create contour deformity and irregularities which you will ultimately not be pleased with.  I recommend discussions with your plastic surgeon prior to embarking on this technique.

Christopher K. Livingston, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon

Muscle Etching is Superficial Liposuction

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Etching with liposuction refers to performing liposuction in the superficial plane just under the skin. Here in Denver we have proponents of superficial liposuction techniques utilizing both the Vaser (manufactured by Sound Surgical just outside of Denver, Colorado) and SmartLipo (manufactured by Cynosure). Other plastic surgeons, myself included, perform superficial liposculpting without these whiz-bang proprietary technologies. I would recommend that you ask for a lot of specifics in terms of what YOU can expect versus the shiny looking bodies that you may see in the "after" pictures. My feeling is that too much "hey, look at what I can do" type of marketing is used in this arena, and I would only recommend muscular-type sculpting or etching for the very best candidates. Hope this helps Nick Slenkovich MD, FACS

Lipo etching

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Lipo etching has been pushed with vaser lip0 using hi-def, Yes more are done on the abdomen but these techniques can be used on other muscle areas.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Lipo etching of muscles

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Although most popular for the abdomen, it is occasionally used for the pectoralis or calf muscles. However , it is generally not a widespread or commonly used technique due to the potential for irregularities.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

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.