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/m. 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. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, IV.
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