Back in 1993, at the conference of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Dr. Henry Mentz gave a speech discussing the possibility of using liposuction to give male patients “six-pack” abs. While the idea was met with a bit of unease from other surgeons at the time, Mentz had performed the procedure on a male model the previous year. Mentz carved grooves in the abdomen using liposuction so the underlying abdominal muscles would be revealed. Let’s take a look at the ongoing popularity of the procedure thirty years after Mentz’s speech and the changes in how the surgery is performed.
The creation of fake abs, known as ab etching, is quite popular among male patients across the country. Plastic surgeons often spotlight this surgery on their websites and the section on the website often features a male model with well-defined abs and little to no body fat.
The appeal of the surgery is easy to understand as some patients are simply unable to get the desired results on their own or they are unwilling to exercise as much as necessary to get the look they want to achieve. Even if the surgery is performed, the patient needs to understand in advance that they will need to stay in shape in order to maintain the results and this includes remaining at their ideal weight.
When it comes to the creation of fake abs, not everyone who wants the treatment is an ideal candidate. Someone who is a good candidate for the surgery includes a person who is already physically fit and has skin that is tight. In addition, the person should have a body mass index (BMI) that is under thirty, and is struggling to eliminate a final layer of fat on the stomach. They should also be able to maintain a stable weight so the results will not be negatively impacted by changes in the weight of the person. It can also be said that a good candidate for the surgery is a person who already looks like they should have “six-pack” abs.
Plus, a good candidate needs to know that the results of the ab etching will last a lifetime. Even though fat cells can expand or shrink when a person loses or gains weight, the liposuction procedure actually eliminates the fat cells. In other words, the “six-pack” is not going anywhere so it is in the best interest of the patient to maintain a stable weight and trim appearance.
The procedure starts with the surgeon marking the outline of the abdominal muscles of the patient and the outline serves as a guide during the surgery. Once anesthesia is administered, the surgeon creates small incisions along the natural creases of the abdomen or in the belly button of the patient. Liposuction is then performed by inserting a cannula through the incisions. The cannula is moved back and forth to loosen the fat as well as sculpt the abs to the contours desired by the patient. Once the cannula is removed, the incisions can be closed with stitches or covered with bandages.
Once a patient is approved for the surgery, they need to know that it takes an hour (or so) to perform, and the price can range from $5000-$30,000. The final cost depends on the amount of work that needs to be done, if the abdominal etching is performed at the same time as other procedures, the area of the country where it is performed, the skill level of the surgeon, and any additional fees charged by the doctor or the medical facility.
The patient will likely need to wear compression garments after the surgery to help reduce swelling. In general, patients are advised to take a week off work to properly recover and limit the performance of any strenuous activities.
It is important for patients to choose a surgeon who is both experienced in performing the surgery and also has an artistic eye so the final results will provide a “six-pack” that is realistic in appearance. It can be a technically challenging procedure as drawing the line too straight or drawing the line in too shallow of a manner can cause the results to have a fake appearance.
Besides the desired physical changes to the body, the procedure can also greatly improve the self-confidence of a person and give them an improved self-image.
The phase “fake abs” can sometimes be misleading as the doctor performs the procedure on the actual abdominal muscles of the patient. Thanks to the removal of excess fat, the original set of muscles is simply being spotlighted in a new fashion. Yes, the patient did have some surgical help in order to gain a new look to the abs, but the new look was built upon the original section of the body.