A technique called abdominal etching can help create the classic “six-pack abs” for those who have trouble getting the toned appearance with their diet plans and workout routine, scientists claim.The procedure uses precisely targeted liposuction to achieve greater definition of the abdominal muscles, according to researchers from University of Miami in the US.”Our study shows that this is a safe and effective method to create a defined anterior abdominal wall in both male and female patients,” said Tarik M Husain, author of the study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The researchers review their experience with liposuction to improve the appearance of the abdomen in 50 patients: 26 men and 24 women, average age 36 years.Patients seeking abdominal etching were in good shape, with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, but had “certain resistant areas of fat” that made it difficult to achieve the abdominal muscle definition they desired.

Researchers outlined the procedure in detail, starting with patient selection and preoperative markup. Following meticulous liposuction technique, the plastic surgeon sculpts the abdominal fat in both the superficial and deeper layers, accentuating the patient’s natural “six-pack” lines in males and 3 vertical lines in females. Hip lines are usually desired by both sexes. The technique can be altered to provide a softer, shallower or a harder, more-defined degree of abdominal etching, depending on the patient’s preference.

Patients can resume light exercise not engaging the core after two weeks of the surgery, and more rigorous exercise after four weeks. The researchers stress the importance of maintaining good long-term results, with the assistance of a sports nutritionist and/or integrated medicine physician to optimise nutrition, exercise plan, and hormone imbalances.

Patients have maintained good results of abdominal etching at follow-up times up to six years, researchers said.
None of the 50 patients undergoing abdominal etching had major complications requiring hospitalisation or return to the operating room, they said.

Researchers hope their technique and experience of abdominal etching will serve as a useful guide to other plastic surgeons who are interested in offering this relatively new procedure.