How Is Abdominal Etching (Six-pack) Surgery Done?

Q: I am interested in learning more about abdominal etching. I am into bodybuilding and and love to sculpt my body. However, even when I diet down my love handles take away the full V-taper appearance. Also, my abs are never really etched like I want them to be. Right now I am actually pretty lean and do not have a lot of fat around my mid-section. It seems like from various pictures on the web, most after images are not really that great. Granted they were not in the best shape to begin with, but I would feel better seeing more pictures of a better after-shot. I was wondering if you had a computer program or are able to manipulate a photo to show what the end result could look like after the surgery?

A: Contrary to whatever pictures you may have seen, I have found that abdominal etching gives very good results. The key is proper patient selection. Not everyone is an ideal candidate as the most lean patients are those who benefit the most. The results are also affected by how aggressive one is with the technique and what expectations the patient has. Etching is basically linear liposuction done with the intent to remove almost all fat between the skin and the underlying abdominal  fascia. (this is not what you normally do in liposuction) There is always a central vertical line and at least 3 horizontal lines at select levels. Occasionally additional vertical rows are put in out laterally. It is a very simple recovery since this is really liposculpture and not volume liposuction removal. I find the use of the Smartlipo probe to be very helpful in performing this procedure.

I would need to see a picture of your abdominal area to see if you are a candidate. Computer simulations I do not find helpfulfor this procedure for patients as anything can be done with Photoshop, that does not mean it will turn out that way from actual surgery. Marking the lines on the photo, however, can be educational for the patient.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana