- A cosmetic procedure called abdominal etching uses liposuction to uncover a person’s natural ab muscles for a more defined six-pack.
- Anyone who is near a normal body mass index and lives a generally healthy lifestyle is eligible for the procedure, according to Tarik M. Husain, the plastic surgeon who co-created the technique.
- Abdominal etching costs between $US6,000 and $US8,000.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
If you’ve ever dreamed of having abs like Jennifer Lopez or Zac Efron, there’s a way for you to achieve your six-pack dreams without lifting a finger – but it’s not easy, and it won’t be cheap.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Tarik M. Husain and his team, who developed an updated version of a cosmetic procedure called abdominal etching, outlined what it entails, as well as potential risks, in the April 2019 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Mentz was the first to create and name the technique in the early 1990s, but Dr. Husain’s team extended the abdominal etching technique to include “love handle” and back-fat etching.
While Dr. Husain’s team authored the study on abdominal etching, his Miami practice isn’t the only place to get the cosmetic surgery done. Still, he said the procedure is especially popular in his area because of its beach-centric culture. “People here are looking to get this done so they can go out and show off their bodies,” he told INSIDER.
Abdominal etching uses liposuction to uncover ab muscles hidden under fat
Abdominal etching uses liposuction to uncover the ab muscles that already exist under layers of fat.
If needed, Dr. Husain and his team first use regular liposuction techniques to remove excess fat that sits above the organs while the patient is under general anesthesia.
Then, they use liposuction on a level even closer to the skin’s surface to “etch” out the ab muscles to give them a more prominent and defined appearance. “These aren’t fake abs, they’re your own abs and I just unveil them,” Dr. Husain said.
From start to finish, an abdominal etching procedure costs between $US6,000 and $US8,000, Dr. Husain said.
According to the April study, which looked at 26 men and 24 women who had the procedure done at Dr. Husain’s practice, 98% of the patients said they were satisfied with the outcomes of the abdominal etching and 49 out of 50 said they would have the procedure done again. Patients ranged from 21 to 55 years old and there were no complications with any of the 50 patients.
The results should be taken with a grain of salt, since the study was relatively small and all of the participants were Dr. Husain’s own patients.
Dr. Husain said any unwanted results can be easily fixed or altered during a follow-up appointment. One of his abdominal etching patients who wasn’t part of the study gained weight following the procedure and came into his office for 30 minutes of liposuction to get the results back to the way she liked.
Typically, if a patient sticks to their existing diet and exercise routine, the results will last for a long period of time, Dr. Husain said.
Following the procedure, patients wear a compression garment under their clothes to reduce the risk of developing fluid in the layer between the abs and the skin. Dr. Husain said they wear the garment for two weeks, only taking it off for showers, and then for two more weeks for two to four hours per day.
Patients rest for three to five days following abdominal etching, but then they can go back to work as long as it doesn’t involve heavy lifting.
Anyone with an average BMI and decent lifestyle habits can get abdominal etching
The ideal candidate for abdominal etching is a person who has an average body mass index (BMI) or is slightly higher than average, according to Dr. Hussain. “It’s someone who works out two or three times weekly, nothing crazy but keeps a lifestyle where they exercise and watch their nutrition,” he said. “Nothing extreme, but [they] also don’t go off the deep end with eating 10 cheeseburgers a day.”
Dr. Hussain’s typical clientele also include body builders who have achieved six-pack abs in the past using extreme diet and exercise measures, but don’t use those practices year round, as well as people who had defined abs when they were younger but have exercised less in recent years.
Abdominal etching comes with the same risks as liposuction. It’s a major surgery that could potentially result in bleeding, numbness, infection, or heart or kidney problems. Liposuction procedures also have the potential to make skin bumpy or wavy from fat being removed unevenly or create permanent muscle or nerve damage.
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