Abdominal Etching- for the Already Thin Person - Laser or Traditional Lipo?

For a patient that is already lean/fit that wants to look more toned and have their natural abs bulge out (NOT have 6/8 fat pads and fake lines made to look like abs). which is the best technology, tumescent liposuction or Laser/ Vaser lipo? To make the natural abs bulge you are removing the most amount of fat (leave in 1/4 inch safety) but taking more fat then doing traditional abdominal etching which leaves round fat pads over the abs, Which technology 1) best results and 2) safest ?

Doctor Answers 9

Abdominal wall etching

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Most important decision you need to make is the plastic surgeon who does your procedure and not the modality they use.  Having said that, if you have loose skin, combination of ultrasonic and laser will improve the tightening you would get after liposution.  Again the sculting done by the operatoing surgeon is what gives you the final results.  Look for post operative outcomes of the surgeons you meet as potential results you could have.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 112 reviews

Hi Def Abdominal Liposuction

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Your question is appreciated because there may be some confusion regarding high definition liposuction and contouring. While etching creates lines to make the transcriptions of the rectus muscles deeper ('six pack') and leaves fat behind for the 'boxes', careful superficial liposuction can achieve excellent and natural looking results while avoiding the somewhat unnatural appearance that can occur with etching. Whether is achieved either with laser, ultrasound or traditional liposuction, the important aspect is the experience of the surgeon. Surgeons with expertise with multiple energy modality platforms can usually offer the most experience because that is the focus of their specialty. I encourage you to find one and get a consultation and good luck.

Christopher T. Chia, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

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. I can use this technique on the arms as well.

I also use the fat removed to graft into the pecs for men or breasts for women as well as into the arms and other areas to further enhance muscle definition.

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



Beverly Hills Vaser 4D Hidef Lipoplasty

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Hi and thanks for the question. An ideal candidate for Vaser 4D high-definition lipoplasty would ideally have a  thinner body habitus, good muscle tone, good skin tone, and a thin layer or localized layer of fat.  In this procedure, liposculpture is performed based on your native anatomy,  and in doing so, augmenting the natural anatomic features ( six pack, latissimus dorsi, deltoids, calves ) of the body.  The procedure has a very artistic component to it. In the right individuals, remarkable results can be achieved when performed by an experienced plastic surgeon. In terms of safety, Vaser 4D hi-def lipoplasty is very safe, assuming the machine is utilized within recommended manufacturer guidelines, the patient is a good candidate with an acceptable health history, and, again, the surgeon performing the procedure is experienced. 

Best wishes,

Dr. Vallecillos 

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Technique is the same but be sure your surgeon is experienced with the technique.

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Best results are related to the experience of your surgeon and safety the same. Generally higher energy techniques like ultrasound and laser will have more risk of sensation changes (numbness) and very rare skin burns with aggressive superficial treatment. 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. Often round or more quadrangular muscle bellies are related to the patients natural anatomy. 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
  1. The surgeon places the marks when you are standing and abdominal muscles are flexed
  2. I prefer power assisted liposuction but there are a few talented surgeons using Vaser
  3. Your surgeon gently shape your abdominal flap to create a more athletic appearance and muscular contour
  4. Etching is aggressive fat removal to enhance six pack grooves
  5. Foam padding is used in the etched areas to improve the early results
  6. Begin post operative massage one to two weeks after surgery to speed recovery
  7. Begin with a board certified plastic surgeon and visit several offices
  8. Choose a surgeon with good experience, doing more than 100 per year
  9. 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

Liposuction and Abdominal Definition

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      The etching does not have to be performed in the manner you are talking about, and conventional liposuction will yield great results.  Find the plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of liposuction procedures each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Traditional vs Laser Liposuction

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Thank you for your question. In general, laser liposuction will provide you with the best results because of its dual action to remove unwanted fat and tightening of the skin at the same time. There is a new procedure our practice has introduced, the first of its in the US where we do 4-D  laser liposuction to etch and sculpt to create these abs.  Be certain to be under the supervision of a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon with expertise in liposuction for an evaluation and  for the safest and most effective treatments.   I hope this helps.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Abdominal Etching- What technique is Best

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Tumescent liposuction with the micro canulas is by far the best to give the most muscle definition. Only the small canulas can remove the fat down close to the skin and muscle showing the best definition with the least risks and having the procedure done under local anesthesia allows patients to stand up and turn in all positions comfortable to be able for the doc to make sure everything is smooth and symmetrical. Don't risk the problems associated with laser or ultrasound liposuctions or the fake abdominal etching where you are left with fat ridges that will only embarrass you. Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Which Liposuction Machine is Used Makes NO Difference to Your Results.

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The best results for Abdominal 6-Pack Etching, as with any procedure, are obtained by going to a surgeon who is good at performing that procedure.  It is the Surgeon who provides the results.... NOT the machine!  Plastic Surgery is an art.  The machines that we use are just instruments or tools.  It is what we do with them that creates the results.  I have used many different liposuction machines.  I have not found a single one that provides "better results". They do however have different risk factors. When you add the additional power of "ultrasonic or laser" you definitely increase risks.  I have been creating 6-packs for years.  Which machine I have used has made no difference.

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.