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In the past, liposuction has only been used to remove excess fat from the abdominal area. A newer technique called abdominal etching has been shown to create a tighter stomach area, allowing the muscle to be defined, giving patients that flat or muscular appearance they look for. Unlike abdominoplasty, where the muscles in the stomach are removed or tightened to give a flat appearance, the abdominal etching procedure simply removes excess skin or fat over abdominal muscles to create a slim stomach area.
Abdominal etching is not for everyone. In fact, those who have a naturally muscular stomach are the best candidates for the procedure. Since many patients have muscular stomachs with a layer of fat over them, etching is ideal for those who have fatty deposits in localized areas that can be reduced with liposuction. Patients who need to create a tighter stomach because it has been stretched out must undergo an abdominoplasty to tighten the muscles, but can also use abdominal etching to create definition in the abdomen area. This procedure can be performed simultaneously with liposuction, as long as it is approved by the cosmetic surgeon.
This procedure is usually performed in a plastic surgeon's office or outpatient surgery facility. Relatively quick, the entire process takes about one hour, and is done under either a local anesthesia, where the patient remains sleepy but awake, or the patient has the option to undergo a general anesthesia, where the patient is fully asleep.
Next, the surgeon makes several small incisions within the belly button or other inconspicuous areas of the abdomen so that appearances of resulting scars are reduced. A small hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted into the incisions, through which excess fat is removed, as it is in a liposuction procedure. The surgeon also creates muscle definition within the remaining thin layer of fat covering the abdomen, which help to protect and cushion muscles, and in some instances use a different hollow tube to create definition than the one used to perform the liposuction portion of the procedure.
After the ideal amount of fat is removed, the patient is watched for up to several days before he or she is able to return home. The surgeon will provide a list of recommendations to help patients deal with the post op symptoms of discomfort, as well as a compression garment to wear for three to six weeks, which is only to be removed for bathing. Patients are usually able to start showering up to 48 hours after the procedure, though they may experience typical surgical side effects including mild pain, swelling or bruising. Within six months, the patient is able to see the final results of their procedure. However many individuals begin to see an improvement in their appearance much sooner than that.
Anyone who needs to enhance their abdominal area is an ideal candidate for abdominal etching. Not only does it reduce the appearance of fat, but also enables the stomach muscles to be defined, as they should be. Those who have tried to lose that stubborn layer of belly fat on their muscular abdomen would benefit greatly from this procedure as well. The procedure enhances confidence and appearance in bathing suits and clothing, which makes it an extremely popular decision for many women who are in otherwise great shape, as well as those who just can't lose that stubborn post-baby belly.
It is important to find a qualified plastic surgeon for any procedure. Since abdominal etching is a newer form of liposuction, is it important to find a surgeon that has been well trained, experienced and specializes in plastic surgery of the abdomen area, especially with liposuction procedures. Check qualifications and certifications, as well as before and after pictures to make sure their quality of work is what a patient is looking for. Also, review education, training or past surgeries to determine if they are specialized enough in the area of the procedure. Ask for a detailed list of pre or post operation instructions in order to benefits from the quickest and best healing results following the procedure. Lastly, check to make sure the plastic or cosmetic surgeon of your choice belongs to domestic or international boards of plastic surgery, with specialty in liposuction and abdominal plastic surgery procedures.
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