LIPOETCHING (PECTORAL ETCHING, ABDOMINAL belly ETCHING)
Lipoetching (also known as precision liposuction or differential liposuction) is the term given to the use of aggressive liposuction on the perimeter of the chest, abdominal, or back musculature (e.g. pectoralis, abdominal, trapezius, and/or latissimus muscles) in order to create an enhanced athletic profile while increasing the perceived fullness of the underlying muscles. This technique was first described in the literature in 1993 and has been gaining popularity ever since, particularly with male patients who desire the appearance of six-pack abs, slab-like pecs, or a chiseled back.
The ideal candidate for lipoetching is one who has a moderate layer of fat overlying the muscles to be accentuated so that the surgeon has enough tissue to “sculpt” and minimal to no excess skin. Traditional liposuction is performed (Please click here to learn more about Liposuction) on the entire chest, abdomen, or back to reduce the soft tissue covering to an appropriate thinness. Next, aggressive liposuction is performed at the inscriptions (i.e. borders of the muscles) to outline the muscle perimeter. To increase the appearance of muscle bulk, fat over the muscles to be addressed is generally left two to three times thicker than at the etched borders. Specially designed compression garments must be worn for several weeks postoperatively to help maintain the newly sculpted tissues. Once the swelling resolves, patients are left with a newly chiseled, well-defined physique. When performed together, lipoetching of the pectoral and abdominal muscles or latissimus and trapezius muscles complement each other and allows the plastic surgeon to sculpt an athletic torso.
The benefits of lipoetching are obvious and include the near instant appearance of well-demarcated, shapely muscles without a rigorous, strictly controlled workout schedule, nutritional supplementation, excessive scarring, or implants. However, like all surgeries, lipoetching is not with risk. Like with traditional liposuction, there is a small risk of postoperative fluid collections or contour irregularities; thankfully, if encountered, these problems can usually be addressed in the clinic without difficulty.
LIPOSCULPTURE (BODY SCULPTING, BODY CONTOURING)
Liposculpture, also known as body sculpting, body contouring, or simply liposuction, is a vague term given to the use of any type of liposuction to improve the overall contours of the body. Traditional liposuction techniques focused on general, non-specific fat removal with little attention paid to harmony and balance between regions of the body. With newer, innovative, and often more aggressive forms of liposuction, a curvier or more chiseled body can be produced while ensuring smooth, beautiful transitions between all body parts. Thus, liposculpture denotes the use of liposuction, with a touch of finesse, to not only remove fat from one part of the body, but to ensure that all regions of the newly sculpted body flow together beautifully and complement one another.
Liposculpture may also be referred to as liposhifting when liposuction is performed in one area of the body followed by fat grafting (injection of fat) into another. A good example of liposculpture that employs liposhifting techniques is the Brazilian butt lift (Please click here to learn more about Brazilian Butt Lift). This procedure is designed to improve the shape, augment, and lift the buttocks in patients with a flat, wide, or drooping rear end. To achieve this, liposuction of the back, hips, flanks, and often thighs is performed with subsequent injection of the harvested fat into the buttocks. The collected fat is not randomly injected into the buttocks; rather, it is strategically placed at various levels and positions of the gluteal soft tissues to give the appearance of a lift while improving the overall aesthetics. Additionally, the liposuction is not randomly performed in areas of excess to merely collect fat for later injection. Rather, liposuction is performed at key areas of the body (e.g. the small of the waist, the lower thighs, the iliac rolls) to not only assist in the shaping of the buttocks but to also produce a graceful, beautiful shape.
To me, liposculpture, liposhifting, body sculpting, body contouring, whatever you call it, means the use of liposuction to improve the appearance of one area of the body while respecting ideal aesthetic measures, symmetry, and harmony of the body as a whole.
By: Jaime Perez, M.D.