Muscle Sculpting: An Overnight Six-Pack

By Elana Pruitt © 2006- 2009
PlasticSurgery.com Editor

What can’t cosmetic surgery do? You can have fatty tissue removed, transferred, or depending on your lifestyle – reshaped. For a more defined body contour, muscle sculpting may be next on your list.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), “Our society places a high value on looking young and fit.” Is this why so many Americans are after the latest anti-aging this or fat blasting that? Probably so. And these days, we know that it’s not just women seeking cosmetic surgery. Dieting and exercise do not always shape the body in the way we would like them to – no matter how many laps you swim or how many minutes you climb the StairMaster.

So when it comes to getting rid of excess fat that is trapped in certain areas of the body like the buttocks, upper arms, and abdomen, liposuction remains the number one surgical choice.

For a more defined body contour, muscle sculpting may be next on your list.

Taking Body Contouring One Step Further

With hopes of shaping your body into an idealized contour, is muscle sculpting the last resort for picture-perfect abs if crunches fail to give you the look you’re after? For some, this may be true. Others, though, may wish to enhance what they already have.

Muscle Sculpting

What is known as “etching” is relatively new to the field of cosmetic surgery; a sort of specialty that is rare among women and sought after by a distinct population. According to Steve R. Fallek, M.D., an east coast plastic surgeon with offices in New York and New Jersey, “Muscle sculpting is not that common, but is certainly more common in men than women. It’s probably 10 to 20 percent of men.”

Is Abdominal Etching Taking Plastic Surgery Too Far?

Ideal candidates for body contouring procedures, such as buttocks augmentation, are those who are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and have realistic expectations. Like all plastic surgery, the same is true for muscle sculpting. Although with a procedure that seems to promote the idea of perfection, it seems hard for anyone to expect any less. Is abdominal etching a vain advancement, possibly taking plastic surgery too far?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), “Our society places a high value on looking young and fit.”

“It’s mostly for patients who want to look great at the gym, the beach, or without clothes,” says Dr. Fallek. “The abdominal etching technique tries to simulate the washboard or six-pack abdomen.”

Clarifying how it all works, Dr. Fallek explains that the technique has been around for a few years but not all plastic surgeons are familiar with it. Liposuction is performed first in the standard technique of removing fat from the subcutaneous tissue level. Then the liposuction cannula is used directly on the undersurface of the skin where it will scrape the dermis, creating scar tissue. In turn, this type of impression is designed to mimic the lines of a washboard abdomen.

The Risks of Muscle Sculpting

The risks associated with plastic surgery muscle enhancement? Dr. Fallek says that a patient may be left with lines or scars that do no appear natural if performed incorrectly. Therefore in your attempt to find a plastic surgeon, be sure to choose someone with great skill and an aesthetic eye.

Body Contouring

Calf implants and pectoral implants are additional plastic surgery muscle enhancement surgeries that may give an individual the extra appeal to feel more confident. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Surgery (ASAPS), the number of cosmetic procedures performed on men in 2006 was nearly one million, which was a decrease of 5 percent from the previous year (surgical procedures decreased 9 percent while nonsurgical procedures decreased 3 percent), yet the desire in achieving an ideal body shape still drives men toward plastic surgery. Besides liposuction, the top cosmetic surgical procedures among male patients in 2006 included rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, male breast reduction, and facelift surgery.

Any doctor will tell you that plastic surgery should never substitute the natural methods of weight loss. A good diet and regular fitness regimen should always be your top priorities in attaining a muscular contour; however, if your attempts fail to give you the body shape you deserve, only then should you rely on plastic surgery muscle enhancement to help you “fake it.”