COSMETIC TOWN JOURNAL



What is Ab Etching? Is it Worth the Surgery?

Posted November 26, 2021
Learn about ab etching

Ab etching, also known as abdominal etching, may sound like an intimidating procedure, but it’s actually a non-invasive outpatient surgery that only takes an hour to complete. 

And some people may believe having an ab etching procedure is cheating your way to a six-pack. But this surgery doesn’t insert any implants. Instead, it defines your natural muscles to take shape by eliminating stubborn fat layers.

Ab etching is the ideal solution for someone who has muscles around their midsection but just isn’t visible beneath the pockets of fat that just can’t seem to go away, even with healthy eating and dieting.

We share more details about this widely popular body contouring procedure with both men and women and who is an ideal candidate for an ab etching procedure. 

Let’s start with the essential information. What is ab etching? 

What Is Ab Etching? 

Abdominal etching is a variation of liposuction. Doctors may refer to this technique as a liposculpture or micro liposuction. Unlike traditional liposuction procedures that aim to remove fat from the treated areas, ab etching uses a Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL) technique with tumescent fluid filtered through the cannula. The liquid helps loosen the fat from the skin so the surgeon can contour and shape the abdominal fat pad while eliminating the extra fat deposits around the muscles to create a more defined look.

An ab etching procedure is typically an outpatient visit and takes about an hour to complete. Here is a step-by-step outline of this non-invasive surgery.

Abdominal Etching Procedure: 

  • Before the procedure begins, the surgeon marks the outline of the patient’s abdominal muscles as a guide during the surgery. 
  • The patient is administered local or general anesthesia.
  • The surgeon proceeds to make small incisions in the belly button or along the natural creases on the abdomen.
  • The cannula from the liposuction machine enters through the incision.
  • A tumescent fluid filters into the treatment area; the fluid helps loosen fat from the skin. 
  • The surgeon carefully motions a back and forth movement to thin and loosen the fat while sculpting the abs to the desired contours. 
  • The fat and fluids are suctioned out with the cannula. 
  • The incisions are so small (less than a quarter of an inch) that the surgeon may not have to close them with stitches but cover the incisions with bandages.

The recovery from an abdominal etching procedure will depend on the amount of fat removed and the patient’s healing ability. Typically, patients experience a week or two of downtime, meaning no strenuous activities or exercise. They are also given a compression garment to help with the swelling and maintain the tissue’s shape in its new form. 

What Type of Results Can You Expect After an Ab Etching Surgery? 

Patients will start to notice subtle results about 7 to 14 days post-procedure after the swelling and bruising have subsided. It could take up to 6 weeks for a patient to see a significant change in appearance to their abdominal area as the tissue continues to form and the skin retracts. 

Ab etching resultThe final results for an abdominal etching may take up to 6 months to see a well-toned and defined midsection. Ab etching claims to be a permanent procedure with a caveat of weight gain or pregnancy. Patients are advised only to consider this type of body contouring procedure once they have maintained an ideal weight and for women who do not plan to get pregnant. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Ab Etching? 

An ideal patient is relatively fit and has some muscles around the abdomen, with only some fat around the isolated areas. Here are a few more indicators of a good candidate for ab etching: 

  • Maintain an ideal weight for an extended time 
  • Plans to continue to exercise and work out after the full results of the procedure
  • Has slight muscle tone around the abdomen and midsection
  • The skin around the abdomen section is in good condition, not sagging or stretched out 

If you have lost a significant amount of weight that has left you with sagging skin around the abdomen, then ab etching may not be the right procedure for you. People who have lost a large amount of weight (more than 100 lbs.) may need to consider a lower body lift or tummy tuck instead. These reconstructive surgeries help remove the excess skin from the weight loss and create a contoured and flatter look around the stomach and midsection. 

We recommend you consult with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who can walk you through the different body contouring procedures. 

The surgeon will help you achieve the desired results based on your body’s condition and shape. You no longer need to hope for a toned and defined midsection. There are a variety of body sculpting procedures to help you get the look you want. 

Do you have a question about a cosmetic procedure? Try our helpful “ask a doctor” feature. Leave a question for one of our board-certified doctors to answer or may find an answer to your question asked by our Cosmetic Town community.

- VM

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