What is abdominal etching? Is it a safe procedure?

34yo male here, 190 lbs. and 5'11". I'm not fat by any means, but I'm not in tip-top shape either. Love handles, a bit of a beer belly. I'm an epicurian, what can I say.

I've heard of a process call abdominal etching that uses liposuction to sculpt a (fake) six-pack into your gut. How effective is this, really? Some of the before and after pics I've seen look really good, and others look super-fake. I dunno. Is it reversible? What happens if you gain weight? Do you have to get it done again? And what if you actually lose weight and develop real abs? Will they look wierd, ie will your abs look like they have abs? So many questions. Basically, is there anyone out there who's had this done and is willing to share their experience?


M, 37, Florida

I had abdominal etching done four years ago. I was in good shape and I practiced good nutrition, but I had the type of body where the majority of the body fat is centered on my stomach and waist. It is really important that you are reasonably fit before you have the procedure and that you maintain your weight afterword. If you gain a large amount of weight, you will lose the results of your procedure. After my etching, I continued to stick to my diet and exercise routine and started to develop real abs. They were actually enhanced by the etching because the remaining fat was distributed directly over the muscle, giving it more bulk than I naturally had. I’m glad I did the procedure because it gave me a reason to stick to fitness. I hope this helps. Good luck! 

I've heard about that. Abdominal etching is a special type of liposuction – the doctor sucks out the fat in certain areas of your stomach to make it look like you have defined abs! I think it’s for people who want a contoured abdominal area and don’t have a lot of fat or loose skin. Doesn't sound especially complicated, and should be safe as long as you go to a reputable doctor. The most risky part of the surgery is probably the anesthesia, not the fat sculpting itself. I read online that one of the things that can happen is your skin might not lay totally flat after the surgery, so afterwards you have to wear a garment (like a Spanx) for around 3 weeks to make sure your skin heals correctly. You also shouldn’t exercise for at least 3 weeks after the surgery because it can slow down your healing. It’s definitely worth it if you want that “6 pack abs” look but don’t want to put in a ton of time at the gym. Personally I find it a little bit over the top. I mean, don't you want to develop your core strength? Abs aren't only for looks.