Abdominal Etching® in Houston, TX

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Dr. Henry Mentz developed Abdominal Etching – a groundbreaking liposuction technique for sculpting six-pack abs in 1993 at his Houston plastic surgery practice. Since that time he has continued to refine and improve his approach for even better results. Today, triple board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Mentz remains the undisputed global leader in Abdominal Etching, regularly presenting around the world on the latest safety measures and surgical techniques. Originally developed for body builders, now the Abdominal Etching is performed for both men and women seeking more defined stomach muscles. The procedure is particularly popular with men who are struggling to achieve the desirable “washboard abs” with exercise alone.

Full Abdominal Etch

The full Ab Etch is for patients whose six-pack can be felt but not seen. These patients have developed and strengthened their abdominal muscles, but they are unable to get the chiseled appearance due to their genetic disposition for fat storage. If a patient is a good candidate for the full Abdominal Etch procedure, Dr. Mentz can clearly discern the individual muscle ridges. These patients also have an overall muscular appearance to their arms, legs and abdomen, so a defined abdomen would be in harmony with the rest of the body.

Modified Abdominal Etch

Dr. Mentz developed a modified Abdominal Etching method for men who have higher body fat levels (above 20%). Dr. Mentz’s approach to Abdominal Etching is to create a more masculine, muscular appearance to the abdomen, but above all, he wants the results to be balanced with the rest of the body. For some patients, the Modified Ab Etch is the most appropriate procedure. This technique is for men that have not strengthened their abdominal muscles. These patients usually have softer contours to their arms and legs and a higher overall body fat percentage.

Surgical Technique

Dr. Mentz performs both modified and full Abdominal Etching as an outpatient surgery in an accredited surgical facility with the patient under general anesthesia. The modified procedure etches in the midline linea alba and the outline of the rectus muscle. For the full procedure, Dr. Mentz also etches in transverse inscriptions and horizontal lines for the full six-pack effect. During the 1-2 hour surgery, Dr. Mentz will make one or more tiny incisions, through which he will insert a small hollow tube (cannula) to suction fat. Dr. Mentz generally uses liposculpture techniques to emulsify and remove fat, but may also use Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL) to achieve more dramatic etching.


You may experience moderate to minimal pain, but most patients can return to work within 5-7 days and resume exercise within 3 weeks. Most of the incisions are hidden in the body’s natural creases, which means very small scars that are difficult to see. Following the procedure, you will be fitted with a compression garment to reduce bruising and swelling. Most bruising and swelling diminishes within 2 weeks. Additionally, all of Dr. Mentz’s surgical patients receive a post-operative therapeutic massage, which uses a combination of lymphatic and Swedish massage techniques to relax you and stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps to reduce bruising, swelling, and numbness. It is important for patients to get massages early and often following their surgery to promote the healing process and enhance the surgical results. 

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Average Cost  
$12,000 - $16,000
Recovery Time  
4-6 Weeks
Average Procedure Time  
1-2 Hours
Procedure Recovery Location  
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Ab Etch FAQs

Best Candidates?

To be a good candidate for the surgery, you should be within a normal weight range with isolated pockets of fat. Patients who exercise on a regular basis and/or have excellent skin tone will see faster results than those with softer contours.

Full or Modified Ab Etch?

To determine whether a patient is a candidate for the full etch or modified etch, Dr. Mentz will feel the abdomen for muscle divisions.

“If the individual muscle ridges aren’t there, I cannot perform a full etch,” Dr. Mentz says. “I don’t like to artificially make a six-pack because the results will look unnatural, and the patient won’t be able to maintain the results.”

Lipo Technique?

Dr. Mentz utilizes the MicroAire PAL technique for his Abdominal Etching patients. During the procedure, both the waist and abdomen are recontoured through a two-fold process: after thinning the abdominal fat pad, fat is selectively removed from the underlying muscles to define their contours. 

With Pec Etching?

Because a majority of Abdominal Etching patients also have softness and fullness in the breast area, Dr. Mentz may combine Abdominal Etching with a gynecomastia surgery to reduce breast size and/or Pectoral Etching to outline the pectoralis muscle definition in the chest.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.