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How abdominal etching works  

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. 

How is abdominal etching different from liposuction?

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. 

Abdominal etching procedure details 

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. 


The majority of abdominal etching patients are able to return to work one week following the procedure; however, they must wear the compression garment for 4 to 6 weeks. Abdominal etching doesn’t affect the muscle layers, but there may be some bruising and swelling, and/or discomfort. It is recommended that you avoid exercise altogether for five days, and avoid high intensity exercise for one month. Other side effects may include skin discoloration, bumpy skin, irregular healing, fluid accumulation, headaches, nerve and blood vessel damage, and/or discharge coming from the incisions. If the pus is green or yellow, or if you develop a fever, please contact our office.


It usually takes 3 to 6 months for final results from this body sculpting procedure to become apparent. As the swelling subsides, your new six-pack will become more and more visible, and as you continue your regular diet and exercise regimen, your body will conform to your new shape. As long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle, your abdominal etching results will be long-lasting.

Good candidates for abdominal etching

If you’re in the Miami area and you’re considering body sculpting with abdominal etching, it may be the ideal procedure for your goals. Even the most fit and healthy individuals often have trouble getting the six-pack abs they want, but this treatment can give your body that last push. The best candidates for abdominal etching are those who: 

  • Are having trouble achieving the six-pack they want
  • Are athletic, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet
  • Already have pronounced abdominal muscles
  • Are less than 30% over their ideal body weight
  • Have healthy muscle and skin tone
  • Are non-smokers
  • Have realistic expectations for what abdominal etching can accomplish

Why choose The Maercks Institute for abdominal etching in Miami?

The Maercks Institute is a high-profile, Miami-based surgical center that offers a variety of advanced techniques in cosmetic procedures that challenge “status quo” plastic surgery by delivering bespoke results that appear as if they are made by nature. President and medical director Dr. Rian Maercks is an innovator and developer of multiple cutting-edge techniques that are progressing conventional methods even further. His undergraduate training in fine arts and philosophy created the framework through which he explores the world of medicine and plastic surgery, and his approach to both surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures of the face and body have earned him international recognition by surgeons and patients alike. As a board-certified aesthetic, craniofacial, and reconstructive specialist, Dr. Maercks elevates the standard of patient care and safety in every procedure he performs. He is an expert who is able to formulate the ideal lipocontouring treatment to achieve your personal aesthetic goals. If you’re interested in learning more about body contouring and abdominal etching, we invite you to contact us today.

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