Everyone wants a 6-pack abdomen! Whether you are an avid bodybuilder or a weekend warrior, everyone wants to have a more athletic looking abdomen. Sometimes no matter how much exercise, you cannot define the six-pack or rectus abdominis muscles. Often, what is needed is targeted liposuction to show off your underlining six-pack abs.
This revolutionary new plastic surgery procedure accents and highlights your abdomen. Why have a soft belly when you could have rock-hard abs?
QUESTION: Am I a good candidate for six-pack abdominal surgery?
ANSWER: Before any six-pack abdominal surgery is performed, you will have a thorough physical examination and review of your medical and surgical history by Dr. Katzen. If you are in good health, you are probably a good candidate for six-pack abs surgery. Ideally, you should be at your ideal body weight. You should watch what you eat and exercise regularly. If you are overweight, you are encouraged to lose weight.
If you have a significant amount of excess hanging skin, the six-pack abs surgery may not be ideal. It may be better to have a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty first. Four to six months after your tummy tuck, if you continue to want six-pack abs, you can return for six-pack abs surgery.
QUESTION: Are there any contraindications to the six-pack abs surgery?
ANSWER: There are specific contraindications to the six-pack abdominal surgery. If you have an abdominal hernia, you should have the hernia repaired first. If you have a Lap-band, it is unwise to perform the six-pack abs surgery.
If you have excess abdominal skin, this is not a contraindication to six-pack abdominal surgery. However, you may get a better result by first having an abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck. After you have healed from your tummy tuck, then at a later date, you can have your six-pack surgery.
There are other general contraindications to surgery including a history of heart attacks, blood clots, or any other significant medical condition. If you smoke, you must stop smoking two months before surgery. Before any surgery is scheduled, you will receive a thorough work up and evaluation by Dr. Katzen.
QUESTION: What supplies do I need for my recovery after six-pack abdominal surgery?
ANSWER: Before your surgery, you will be given prescriptions for antibiotics, pain medication, nausea medication, and a stool softener. Before surgery, please fill these prescriptions.
Immediately, after your six-pack abdominal surgery, you will be placed in a compression garment. This garment will help to minimize swelling or edema. After your first post-operative visit with Dr. Katzen, you will be given an extra compression garment. This extra compression garment will allow you to change into a clean garment every day. The first several days after surgery, you will drain fluid. This is normal. It is suggested that you purchase some disposable towels to place on your bed. These towels will absorb this normal drainage and protect your bed sheets.
QUESTION: Are there alternatives to the six-pack abs surgery?
ANSWER: Alternatives to six-pack abdominal liposculpting include traditional liposuction. However, why have traditional liposuction when you can sculpt an abdominal six-pack? In addition, using the VASER allows for better skin contraction, decreased pain, and less blood loss. Alternatively, if your rectus abdominis muscle is protuberant, lax, or distended, you may require muscle tightening. This may require a formal abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. If you have excess abdominal skin, you may require an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck.
QUESTION: I have seen in some muscle magazines that some people have a four pack. Does everyone have an abdominal six-pack?
ANSWER: Most people have a six-pack. However, some patients only have four packs. This has to do with genetic variability. During your preoperative visit with Dr. Katzen, your abdominal wall will be analyzed. Dr. Katzen will determine how many muscles insertions you have and accentuate these during your six-pack surgery.
QUESTION: What does the six-pack abs procedure entail?
ANSWER: Usually, the six-pack abdominal procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Five very small incisions are placed on the abdominal wall. Incisions are about the size of a pencil eraser. Tumescent fluid is injected. This fluid contains anesthetic (which helps with pain control during and after the surgery) and epinephrine (which minimizes blood loss). Then, the VASER cannula is inserted, and the abdominal wall fat is melted. After the VASER, liposuction is used to remove tumescent fluid and fat. Further liposuction is used to sculpt the rectus abdominis muscles and their transverse insertions. This leads to a sculpted six-pack abdomen. Usually, the port sites are not sutured and are left open so further fluid can drain. This minimizes the chances of fluid (seroma) or blood (hematoma) collection. Pads and a tight compressive garment are placed.
QUESTION: What type of anesthesia is used for the six-pack abdominal procedure?
ANSWER: Typically, general anesthesia is used for the six-pack abdominal procedure. With general anesthesia, better abdominal contouring can be achieved. IV sedation can be used, but general anesthesia is usually safer and much more comfortable for patients.
QUESTION: How long does the six-pack abs procedure take?
ANSWER: Typically, the six-pack abdominal procedure takes 2 to 3 hours. The amount of time required for surgery depends on the amount of fat that needs to be removed and pre-existing abdominal scar tissue.
QUESTION: Where are the incisions placed for the six-pack procedure?
ANSWER: Usually, there are five incisions placed on the abdominal wall. One incision is placed in the belly button. Two other incisions are placed below the belt line. Two more incisions are placed in the midline between the sternum and the belly button. These two incisions allow for the creation of the horizontal, transverse abdominal insertions. These are the horizontal lines between the six-pack muscles.
QUESTION: What are the risks involved with the six-pack procedure?
ANSWER: As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications. Complications after six-pack surgery are rare. However, the most common complication after six-pack surgery is a fluid collection or seroma. Other specific risks of the six-pack abdominal sculpting include bleeding, infection, and blood collection (hematoma).
QUESTION: What is a seroma?
ANSWER: A seroma is a collection of fluid. A seroma looks like a small water balloon. The internal walls of this balloon or seroma continuously secrete clear, yellow fluid. The internal walls of the seroma keep creating more and more fluid. As the fluid builds inside the seroma, the seroma can expand and grow larger. Seromas are rare, but perhaps the most common complication after six-pack abdominal surgery.
QUESTION: I developed a seroma after the six-pack abdominal procedure. How is a seroma treated?
ANSWER: If a seroma develops after a six-pack abs procedure, the seroma may need to be drained. Typically, seroma drainage is performed in the office. The area is locally anesthetized, and a very small needle is inserted. The fluid from the seroma cavity is aspirated. Unfortunately, some seromas continue to secrete fluid and may require repeat drainage. Sometimes, before seromas disappear completely, seromas require drainage 2 to 3 times a week over several weeks. Compression will also help to minimize the recurrence of a seroma.
QUESTION: When can I return to work after six-pack abs surgery?
ANSWER: Every patient is different, and every job is unique. One to two weeks after their six-pack abdominal procedure, most patients are able to return to desk-type employment. If you have a more physically active type of job (general contractor, laborer, care giver), most patients are able to return to two to three weeks after their six-pack abdominal procedure.
QUESTION: After the six-pack abs surgery, when can I resume exercising?
ANSWER: Every patient is different. However, most patients are able to return to their normal exercise routine three to four weeks after an six-pack abdominal procedure.
QUESTION: Is there any exercise I should avoid after my six-pack abs surgery?
ANSWER: Dr. Katzen suggests avoiding sit-ups for six months. During this recovery phase, concentrate on other body parts. In addition, why would you need to work on sit-ups when you already have a perfectly sculpted abdominal six-pack!
QUESTION: When can I resume sexual activity after six-pack abs surgery?
ANSWER: Five to seven days after your six-pack abdominal surgery, you are allowed to resume sexual activity.
QUESTION: Why do I need to wear a compression garment after the six-pack abs procedure?
ANSWER: After the six-pack abdominal procedure, the compression garment is important to minimize bleeding, minimize swelling, minimize seroma occurrence, accentuate your results, and overall, accelerate your healing time. If you do not wear your compression garment, swelling may persist for much longer.
QUESTION: When will I see my final results after six-pack abs surgery?
ANSWER: Usually, after six-pack abs surgery, the final results take six to eight months to develop.
QUESTION: Before my six-pack abdominal surgery is there a specific diet I need to follow?
ANSWER: Yes. Dr. Katzen suggests a high protein diet. Two weeks before your six-pack abdominal surgery, Dr. Katzen suggests you begin a high protein diet. Your diet should include consuming at least 100 grams of protein a day. To achieve this goal, you may require protein drinks and shakes.
QUESTION: After my six-pack abdominal surgery, is there a specific diet I need to follow?
ANSWER: Yes. Dr. Katzen suggests continuing your pre-operative, high protein diet. For two weeks after your six-pack abdominal surgery. Dr. Katzen suggests you try to consume at least 100 grams of protein a day. In addition, for two weeks after your surgery, it is also very important to drink at least 3 liters of water a day.
QUESTION: I have already had liposuction to my abdomen. Can I still have six-pack abs?
ANSWER: Yes. Prior abdominal wall liposuction is not a contraindication to six-pack abdominal surgery. There may be some scarring. However, six-pack abs surgery may significantly improve the appearance of your abdominal wall.
QUESTION: What do I need to do before my six-pack abdominal surgery?
ANSWER: Before your six-pack abdominal surgery, it is important for you not to gain weight. The results of six-pack abdominal surgery are best if you are at your ideal body weight or lower. Dr. Katzen suggests you continue to eat right and exercise. If you smoke, you must stop.
QUESTION: I have already had an abdominoplasty. Can I still have six-pack abdominal liposuction?
ANSWER: Yes. Six-pack abdominal liposuction after an abdominoplasty can yield dramatic results. This can create abdominal wall muscle definition to the flat abdominal wall that you have been seeking. Often, patients exercise after an abdominoplasty, but the abdominal muscles do not show. The six-pack abdominal wall liposculpting can help accentuate and define those underlying abdominal muscles.
QUESTION: What can I do for the scar after my six-pack surgery?
ANSWER: Liposuction scars from the six-pack abs sculpting are relatively small. However, these scars can take up to two years to fully mature. To minimize hypertrophic scars and keloids, silicone cream, silicone strips and compression are beneficial. Once the incision has healed, application of silicone and compression therapy are encouraged.
QUESTION: How long do my six-pack abdominal results last?
ANSWER: During the six-pack abs surgery, fat cells are permanently removed around your abdominal wall muscles. Therefore, your results should last a lifetime. Of course, if you gain weight your results will be less defined.
QUESTION: Will I need my six-pack abs surgery redone?
ANSWER: No. If you maintain your weight and diet, you should not need revision of your six-pack abs surgery. Of course, if you want even more abdominal muscle wall definition, you may require more six-pack abs surgery at a later date.
QUESTION: Can I take my vitamins after six-pack abs surgery?
ANSWER: Please consult my list of medications not to take before and after your six-pack abs surgery. If your medications and vitamins are not on this list, you can take these even right after your six-pack abdominal surgery.
QUESTION: What is the VASER?
ANSWER: The VASER is a type of liposuction machine. It uses ultrasonic wavelengths to liquefy or emulsify fat. The VASER is unique in that it only targets fat and leaves other tissues such as nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue intact.
QUESTION: Why is the VASER superior to traditional liposuction?
ANSWER: The VASER is superior to traditional liposuction for many reasons. The VASER targets only fat and leaves other tissue relatively intact. By only melting fat, the VASER leads to more rapid healing and smoother results. Since the VASER also creates thermal energy, this generated heat causes further fat to dissolve and causes significant skin contracture. Thermal skin contracture is not attainable with traditional liposuction. Clinical studies have also shown significantly less blood loss with the use of the VASER.
QUESTION: After the VASER, why do you need to use regular liposuction?
ANSWER: The VASER only destroys and disrupts the fat wall. The VASER hand piece or cannula only delivers energy. The VASER is not a liposuction device and therefore, does not remove fat. Therefore, after the VASER is used, liposuction is needed to remove the melted fat and remaining tumescent fluid.
QUESTION: Why can’t you use the VASER for the entire procedure?
ANSWER: The VASER only melts the fat. After the VASER has been used, the fat needs to be removed. The VASER hand piece cannot suction fat. Therefore, to remove the fat, which the VASER melted, liposuction needs to be performed.
QUESTION: Is it normal to have scrotal swelling after six-pack abdominal surgery?
ANSWER: Yes. After the six-pack abdominal surgery, it is normal to have scrotal swelling. The tumescent fluid and blood from the anterior abdominal wall goes toward the groin. Often this excess fluid cannot escape and descends into the scrotal region. The testicles can swell significantly. This can be normal, but if this occurs, you should notify Dr. Katzen. Conservative treatment including scrotal support and ice will minimize the swelling. Within 10 to 14 days, scrotal swelling usually resolves.
QUESTION: If I gain weight, will new fat go directly to where it was removed during my six-pack abs surgery?
ANSWER: No. After six-pack abs surgery, you should continue your regular diet and exercise. Weight gain is not recommended. However, if you do gain weight, fat will not preferentially go where it had been removed from the anterior abdominal wall. Fat will distribute equally throughout your entire body. Fat will not specifically go to your abdomen just because it was removed during six-pack ab surgery.