Men, It's Time to Etch Those Abs For Summer!
It seems almost too good to be true. Can we skip the gym, relax on the diet – and just see a plastic surgeon? Can a little nip and tuck actually mimic (or replace) the effects of exercise and physical fitness?
Yes, it can but only to some extent. Not a bad extent though – especially if you’re not obese but maybe only slightly out of shape with a bit of extra poundage here and there. In fact, when performed by a board-certified and artistic plastic surgeon, liposuction can remove stubborn fat from areas like the love handles or muffin tops, and be ‘upcycled’ and used to fill in other areas. The same fat removed from unwanted or undesirable areas can be skillfully sculpted to reveal well-defined pectoral muscles in the chest or the coveted ‘six-pack’ abs that are unattainable regardless of rigorous exercise regimens for a lot of well-intentioned people, says Ashkan Ghavami, M.D.
“Patients who don’t have loose skin and large deposits of fat can have their abdomen and other areas contoured in high definition to finish the job they started with exercise. One of these techniques is "etching" where small areas of fat are precisely liposuctioned from the abdomen to reveal the muscular shapes and bone structure, which is highly attractive to many. As is to be expected, the best results are seen in someone who already has an exercise and diet lifestyle that can now be optimized with liposuction and/or fat transfer to chest or buttocks,” says Dr. Ghavami.
Fat is an artistic sculpting tool that can fill in defects, contour and reshape the body. There is a lot of flexibility when contouring with fat because it can take on the physiologic component of whatever it is adjacent to. If you inject fat near bone it can take on the characteristics of bone, and the same applies to muscle. There is no chance of rejection when fat is removed from one area and injected into another because the patient’s own tissue is being used.
The idea of going under the knife brings with it other complications – like, will you have to put your life on hold in order to have time to recover? Maybe not so much. It all depends on the patient’s healing pace and the area contoured, says Ghavami. “Sensitive areas such as near the groin, inner thighs and lower back or flanks can be a bit more tender and require a bit more recovery time; however, I have had patients take only a few days to recover from smaller areas of liposuction and resume their daily routines. Of course, if he wanted a whole body makeover and transformation by liposuctioning multiple areas and transferring the fat to firm and lift the buttocks or pectoral area, then that can take 1 to 2 weeks,” says Ghavami.
Are You a Candidate?
As with all procedures, not everything is a fit for everybody. “Number one, you have to have good skin elasticity and skin tone. In addition, you should only have relatively moderate to small areas of fat deposition. Someone who has a lot of intra-abdominal fat or visceral fat surrounding the organs in the belly will see little to no change. And if someone has loose skin, they are not a candidate,” says Ghavami.
“If you go to an inexperienced surgeon, you may be getting these procedures when you are not the right candidate for them, or they may be done imprecisely which will require revision,” says Ghavami. The key to executing phenomenal liposuction results is how much fat you leave behind in the right patient, not how much you take. Artistry and careful judgment are key to anticipating skin retraction post-op. Other risks include infections, embolism, seroma, swelling, skin necrosis, and fluid imbalance; however these risks are reduced when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon from the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) with experience in liposculpting.
What degree of abs can be expected after surgery?
It all depends on how you start off, says Ghavami. The ideal patient with good skin elasticity who already has an effective exercise regimen in place and just can’t get that last bit of toning appearance can benefit from visibly sharper muscular contours once specific areas of fat are meticulously liposuctioned away. Therefore, a six-pack appearance will be more noticeable in these patients.
So, for those of you who’ve tried everything and still haven’t achieved that rock hard aesthetic you’ve been slaving away for at the gym, perhaps it’s time to break out a pint of ice cream as the dog days of summer approach and leave the final touches to a qualified and talented plastic surgeon.