Am I A Good Candidate For Abdominal Etching?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am 29 years old. Used to weigh 320lbs but now about 230-235. I have been doing bodybuilding and competitions for at least the last 5-6 years. I stay around 12-18% body fat yearly. But no matter how clean I eat, or strict my workouts are I can only see my abs when I’m down to 3-5% body fat. Would ab etching benefit me?

Here are the pictures per request. Interested in ab etching.

A: Thank you for sending your pictures. Abdominal etching is unique in liposuction because it does something that is not done in any other form of liposuction…the removal of fat to deliberately create a contour depression. (in this case the etch lines) One of the basic principles of success in liposuction surgery, abdominal etching included, is the ability of the skin to shrink and contract down around the areas where the fat is removed. Your abdominal skin is challenged in that regard because of the weight loss where much of the elastic fibers in the skin have been irreversibly stretched out and the ability of the skin to shrink and contract has been compromised. (as evidenced by the stretch marks)

Theoretically abdominal etching in you should not be that successful because of the condition of your abdominal skin. I suspect what that really means is you will get some improvements but one should not expect typical well demarcated etch lines to appear from the procedure…. probably more of a hint of them.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana