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Abdominal Etching: Surgical Technique and Outcomes

Husain, Tarik M. M.D.; Salgado, Christopher J. M.D.; Mundra, Leela S. M.D.; Perez, Chelsey B.A.; AlQattan, Husain T. M.D.; Bustillo, Erik R.D., C.I.S.S.N., C.P.T.; Perez, Ramiro M.D.; Garri, Jose I. M.D., D.M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: April 2019 - Volume 143 - Issue 4 - p 1051-1060
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005486
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Background: The ideal body is characterized by a muscular physique and defined anterior abdominal wall. Despite diet and exercise, many are unable to achieve this desired result. Liposuction with abdominal etching is used to achieve high-definition abdominal aesthetics. The etching technique is performed with liposuction in a superficial plane, to create indentures consistent with “six-pack abs,” or definition of vertical abdominal lines.

Methods: The authors’ abdominal etching preoperative markings, surgical technique, and postoperative care are discussed. The surgeons’ experience with abdominal etching in 50 consecutive patients is reviewed, including rate of complications and patient satisfaction.

Results: The average patient age was 36.4 years. We had an almost equal number of men (n = 26) and women (n = 24), with an average body mass index of 26.7 kg/m2. The average blood loss was 275 ml, the average tumescence was 6 liters, and the average lipoaspirate was 5 liters. There were no major complications such as fat embolus, deep venous thrombosis, or intraabdominal injury. The most common minor postoperative complications were contour irregularities (12 percent), seromas (10 percent), and hyperpigmentation (2 percent). The majority of patients were satisfied (98 percent). The average length of postoperative follow-up was 27 months.

Conclusions: Abdominal etching is a safe and effective method of creating a defined anterior abdominal wall for patients who desire the muscular definition of vertical abdominal lines. Almost all of our patients reviewed were satisfied with this procedure, maintained long-term results, and had an acceptable rate of complications.


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Miami Beach and Miami, Fla.

From Mosa Plastic Surgery; the Division of Plastic, Aesthetic, and Reconstructive Surgery and the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine; and Elite Health.

Received for publication October 10, 2017; accepted September 27, 2018.

Disclosure:Dr. Tarik M. Husain is a consultant for LipoSales (Houston, Texas). No product from LipoSales was used in any of the cases presented in the study. LipoSales did not sponsor this study.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the text; simply type the URL address into any Web browser to access this content. Clickable links to the material are provided in the HTML text of this article on the Journal’s website (

A “Hot Topic Video” by Editor-in-Chief Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., accompanies this article. Go to and click on “Plastic Surgery Hot Topics” in the “Digital Media” tab to watch.

Tarik M. Husain, M.D., Mosa Plastic Surgery, 4308 Alton Road, Suite 940, Miami Beach, Fla. 33140,, Instagram: @Dr.MiamiBeach, @Mosa_Surgery, Facebook: DrTarikHusain, Twitter: @Dr_MiamiBeach

Copyright © 2019 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons