Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Tummy Tuck With Abdominal Etching

This procedure combines a traditional tummy tuck with high-definition liposuction, also known as abdominal etching. In addition to the removal of excess skin and the tightening of the abdominal wall, a high-definition tummy tuck utilizes advanced liposuction techniques to remove excess fat from the midsection.

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Tummy Tuck With Abdominal Etching

A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a popular cosmetic surgical procedure performed to remove excess skin and fat from the midsection. In many cases, a tummy tuck will also involve tightening or repairing the abdominal muscles. Ultimately, the goal of the procedure is to create a firmer and more toned abdomen.

You can most definitely perform abdominal etching with a mini tummy tuck. These procedures are often combined when the lower abdominal skin is redundant or if the belly button is too high.

When redundant skin is present, liposuction contouring is not feasible. In addition, if redundant skin is present following liposuction, the skin does not know how to redrape itself naturally; instead, these patients will become botched and deformed in appearance.

A mini tuck can be safely added to an abdominal etching procedure in the same surgical period by a trained high definition liposuction”>high definition liposuction surgeon. Ideal abdominal appearance is achieved by complete high definition liposuction of the stomach fat followed by release and elimination of redundant skin limited to below the belly button.

If you have stretch marks or extra skin limited to below the belly button, you are a perfect candidate for these combined procedures.

However, there are some limitations with abdominal etchings and a a mini tummy tuck. The first thing a surgeon needs to consider is the status of the patients’ muscles. If there is a significant difference between when someone sucks their stomach in and when they release, that is often a sign of stretched and loosened muscles.

Females who have had several kids are often in this situation and would receiver a definition liposuction scale score of 2-5. In order to get to the HD requirement of 9/10 points, these patients would require a full tummy tuck to tighten the muscles.

Abdominal Etching with Mini Tummy Tuck Results

There are a few key things to look for when observing a plastic surgeon before and after photos that claim to show abdominal etching with mini tummy tucks.

The first thing to look at is the original photo’s abdominal skin quality. If the patient had limited skin redundancy and good quality, there was no reason to perform this surgery.

The second thing to look at is the abdominal aesthetic in the after photo. The ideal abdomen requires straight lines and elimination of abdominal and flank fat leading to a vertical belly button.

Abdominal Etching Surgery

Abdominal etching is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. That means that it isn’t covered by health insurance. You should expect to cover the costs of this procedure, including any anesthesia it requires, out of pocket.

Your cosmetic surgeon should be able to provide a clear breakdown of these costs during an office consultation. Anecdotal reports suggest that these costs can range from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on your provider and location.

When tallying how much abdominal etching may cost you, remember to account for how much time you’ll need to take off from work to recover from the procedure. The average recovery time is 10 days to 2 weeks.

However, if you work in a job that requires you to be on your feet, or if your recovery is more complicated than average, it isn’t unusual to need extra time off.

How does abdominal etching work?

Abdominal etching works similarly to traditional liposuction, but there’s one important distinction. The fat deposits that cover your abdominal muscles are carefully carved off your body, using small incisions usually based around your belly button.

When done carefully, this technique can deepen the natural grooves in your body and make your ab muscles appear much more prominent.

Fat deposits may also be taken from the sides overlying your oblique abdominal muscles to narrow your midsection. When the swelling subsides and the area heals, you should see a visibly toned midsection.

Procedure for abdominal etching

Your abdominal etching procedure will take about an hour, on average.

  1. While you’re standing up, your doctor will mark the areas that are being sculpted and enhanced. This may feel a bit like your abs are being drawn on. Once you’re both satisfied with the intended result, you’ll be ready to lie down and prepare for surgery.
  2. A foam dressing that matches the drawing on your body will then be applied to your body. You’ll be put under general or local anesthesia, depending on your preference and your doctor’s recommendation.
  3. The skin on your belly will be numb as the doctor makes incisions, called ports, to access and remove the fat deposits. This process will be done using a scalpel and a cannula pump (an instrument that drains fluid or fat deposits). The ports will be open until the end of the surgery to drain fat, fluid, and blood from your body.
  4. Your incisions are then closed and dressed. A compression garment is applied to your midsection to ensure that the belly begins to heal. The foam dressing that was applied before surgery stays on under the compression garment.
  5. After the fat is removed and the anesthesia wears off, you’ll need to keep the compression garment on until your doctor gives you the go-ahead to remove it, typically 4 to 6 weeks.

Targeted areas for abdominal etching

Abdominal etching only targets your waistline and midsection. The rectus abdominis and obliques are the most affected by this type of liposuction.

Risks and side effects

Abdominal etching is considered a low-risk cosmetic procedure. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk of complications and side effects.

Common side effects after a liposuction procedure like abdominal etching include:

  • nerve and blood vessel damage
  • skin discoloration
  • bumpy skin or irregular healing
  • swelling
  • fluid accumulation
  • anesthesia bruising or headaches

You may also notice pus or discharge coming from the site of your procedure. If the pus is greenish or yellow-tinged, contact your doctor.

Having a fever in the days after an abdominal etching an also be a sign of an infection. Let your doctor know about these side effects, and seek emergency medical care right away if you suspect you have an infection.

  • About: Abdominal etching is a liposuction procedure that claims to sculpt and enhance the appearance of your waistline and create six-pack abs.
  • Safety: This procedure is considered low risk, but there is the risk of side effects, such as uneven contouring, excessive swelling, and infection.
  • Convenience: Abdominal etching is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, but it does require some downtime to recover. It’s also critical to make sure that a trained and licensed provider with experience in abdominal etching is the one performing your procedure.
  • Cost: This procedure isn’t typically covered by insurance, and anecdotal reports suggest it can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. Treatment from an experienced provider typically averages around $6,000.
  • Efficacy: The research on the efficacy of this procedure is limited. Small studies indicate that up to 98 percent of people are happy with the way that their results look.

What is abdominal etching?

Abdominal etching is a type of liposuction procedure. Liposuction is the second most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States, with over 250,000 liposuction procedures performed in 2018.

Like traditional liposuction, abdominal etching uses a suction technique to remove fat deposits from underneath your skin. What makes abdominal etching unique are the results that it aims to achieve.

Instead of removing fat from your midsection with the simple goal of a slimmer appearance, abdominal etching removes fat deposits in an advanced and strategic way. This type of liposuction molds and shapes your abdominal wall so that your ab muscles look more prominent.


For people who’ve tried unsuccessfully for years to achieve six-pack abs with diet and exercise, the idea of abdominal etching may be very appealing.

Abdominal etching first gained popularity in the 1990s. Since then, new technologies have allowed cosmetic surgeons to carry out this type of liposuction with results that are more consistent and predictable. But results do vary widely, and not everyone reports being satisfied with their results.

Abdominal Etching in Miami

Is Abdominal Etching Worth It

Abdominal etching is an excellent option for individuals who are healthy and fit, but just can’t seem to get the sculpted abs they want. This issue is often due to genetics or age, and with just a little help from abdominal etching, the body you want is within your reach.

Abdominal etching, also known as “six-pack lipocontouring” or “lipo etching”, is a body contouring procedure that not only removes fat but also sculpts the abdomen in order to make the six-pack area more prominent. This procedure essentially carves away fat in a strategic manner to deepen the natural grooves of the abdominal wall via small incisions (typically placed around the navel). To further contour the body, fat can also be removed from the sides to slim and tone the midsection. This procedure is ideal for those who keep a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and already have a fairly muscular stomach. 


Liposuction and lipocontouring (abdominal etching) should not be confused. Liposuction also removes fat from stubborn areas; however, the main difference between liposuction and abdominal etching is that in addition to removing fat, abdominal etching also brings out the six-pack. Liposuction is considered a fat removal procedure, but not necessarily a body sculpting procedure. Liposuction is better for patients who have more body fat to get rid of and do not need any body sculpting done, but who are more interested in simply removing fat. If you’re unsure of which procedure is better for your personal goals, Dr. Maercks can help determine this for you. 


Avoid taking any blood-thinning medications for two weeks before your body contouring abdominal etching procedure, and stop smoking for two months prior. Be sure to arrange a ride home from your appointment. Before the procedure begins, your abdomen will be marked to help guide Dr. Maercks. While under anesthesia, the patient will have small incisions made (usually placed around the navel) to access and remove the unwanted fat. 

These incisions are very carefully made and placed so that even if a scar forms, it will be barely visible once healed. As the liposuction process removes the fat that’s covering the abdominal muscles, Dr. Maercks will use a specialized cannula to remove fat along the abdominal muscle lines in order to reveal the natural six-pack underneath. Once the procedure is complete, the incisions are closed and the patient is wrapped with a compression garment. The procedure takes 1 to 3 hours. 

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