Hi-Def Liposculpture | Newport Beach | La Jolla, San Diego | Tim Sayed, MD, FACS

Hi-Def Liposculpture

Hi-Def Liposculpture – San Diego

Hi-definition abdominal liposculpture (or hi-def lipo for short) is very common with bodybuilders and generally fit men and women, who want to enhance their abdominal muscular appearance. By performing precise liposuction along the surface anatomy of a muscular abdomen, Dr. Sayed can help create even more definition of the 6-pack “abs” and other contours, to help enhance that beach body. Hi-def lipo involves performing targeted liposuction overlying the “inscriptions” of the rectus abdominis muscle, the midline, the outer border of the 6-pack, and other important boundaries of the abdomen, to bring the skin closer to the muscle with fat removal.

Good candidates for this procedure have a stable weight within a relatively normal body mass index (BMI), as it is much more challenging to create definition in the abdomen of a patient who does not perform a reasonable amount of exercise for abdominal muscle definition. For a variety of reasons, some otherwise very fit patients still have problem areas of fat excess that does not burn off ideally, and for these patients, hi-def lipo may be ideal. The goal result is one where the muscle grooves essentially look like a statuesque, chiseled physique – hence the term “abdominal etching,” which is sometimes used.

Some of the surface anatomy features that hi-def can improve include:

  • The midline (linea alba)
  • The outer edge of the abdominal muscles (linea semilunaris)
  • The separations between the abs (tendinous inscriptions)
  • The groin V (inguinal creases)
  • The belly button region

In a media-savvy world of instantly shared images of bare midriffs and shirtless physiques, optimizing the appearance of the abdomen can be an important component of body image.


View real patient before & after results in our photo gallery.

before and after hi-def Abdominal liposculpture front view male patient case 1

Hi-Def Lipo 101

The anatomy of the abdominal musculature is well known to fully trained plastic surgeons like Dr. Sayed, who also completed a full general surgery residency that included experience performing around 600 operations on the abdomen. Dr. Sayed has also had extensive experience reconstructing the abdominal wall (for hernias, cancer patients, etc.), which has furthered his mastery of the anatomy of the abdominal musculature, fascial layers, and other structures.

Hi-Def lipo includes maneuvers to “over-suction” over the grooves you wish to enhance, pulling out as much fat as possible from the space between the muscle contour and the skin. When the skin retracts, the surface anatomy of the muscle is more apparent at the skin surface, giving a tighter, leaner and fitter appearance. This is done through small “port site” incisions in anatomic landmarks that are usually well concealed after the procedure has fully healed.

Tendinous inscriptions, linea alba and linea semilunaris
Hi-definition abdominal liposculpture. Typical incision locations

Contact us today!

If you’re in the San Diego or Newport Beach areas and have any questions about hi-def lipo or wish to schedule a consultation on hi-def lipo with Dr. Sayed, please contact our office.

Hi-Def Lipo FAQ’s

Some of our selection criteria to include you as a Hi-Def Lipo candidate include:​

  • A generally lean and fit physique with evidence of regular abdominal exercise
  • A desire for more enhancement of the abdominal muscle contours
  • No hernias on examination
  • General good health, meaning you do not have major uncorrected cardiovascular, respiratory, kidney or other major organ conditions, and would be able to be medically cleared for general anesthesia by an internal medicine physician if you are over a certain age
  • Not pregnant or immediately planning to become pregnant
  • Nonsmoker or willing to commit to NO NICOTINE IN ANY FORM for at least 3 weeks preop and for the duration of your recovery
  • A body mass index below 28-30 and ideally below 25 for optimal results, with rare exceptions
  • Available support system of friends, family, caregivers or others who can help you to keep your appointments, complete your preop and postop tasks, and emotionally bolster you through this exciting journey
  • Reasonable expectations of how much contouring improvement is possible with specific techniques

Abdominal etching takes around 1.5 to 2 hours for most patients, depending on their height and weight, under general anesthesia.

Most Hi-Def Lipo procedures are performed on an outpatient basis in a AAAASF-certified operating room, meaning the facility is up to very high standards of accreditation. Patients usually spend up to a couple hours in the postoperative suite before being discharged in the care of a companion, family member or friend. Dr. Sayed gives a 24 hour phone number to all patients who can reach him for urgent questions, and we also issue access to a patient engagement application that allows the patient or companion/caregiver to send SMS messages, photos, video and other content to our team in a secure, private digital format. This keeps us mutually informed on your recovery and allows us to update your instructions while requiring a respectful number of face-to-face visits in the office.

Early postop recovery findings can include pain (which feels like a heavy post-workout muscle cramping pain in most cases), mild nausea, bruising and swelling, numbness or diminished sensation in the skin, and some mental adjustment to the process of healing which most patients undergo. Some patients may develop small fluid collections called seromas in the early weeks after surgery, though we try to prevent these. Most patients are advised to take up to 2 weeks out of social circulation and we’d prefer that you not drive yourself in the first 14 days or as long as you are taking any prescription pain medication. Most sutures are dissolvable but there may be a few that need to be removed at around 14 days postop. You may or may not have drains in place (depending on the treatment areas), which are usually removed in the office at 7 to 10 days.

We ask that you abstain from exercise for 2 weeks and then return to light fitness routines after that. It may take a few weeks before you can resume abdominal exercises, so it may take time for the result to be fully apparent (sometimes even several months). It is very important that you get up and walk even the first night following your procedure. You will be asked to wear a surgical garment for about 3 months, and it will be easiest for you if you wear tops that button down in the front in the first 3 weeks or so. Dr. Sayed and his team provide close postop care in the office and with our remote engagement tools. You will be asked to take some supplement medications to aid in your recovery, which may include medications for pain, bruising, swelling, constipation, and dietary optimization.

If you maintain your weight within a fairly stable range (usually +/- 10 pounds maximum) and continue to exercise your abdominal muscles, the results should be relatively long-lasting, and potentially permanent. One thing to understand is that in order to create a natural appearing etching, the surgeon suctions aggressively over the muscle grooves. If you gain significant weight or stop working out, the contours created by the lipo may remain while the natural contributions fade – we don’t want an artificial look like that, so we will press you to continue your fitness routine long-term to maintain your results.

  • Have a reasonable expectation of what surgery can accomplish
  • Work out your abdominal muscles substantially in the weeks before surgery to maximize their natural prominence and enhance your final result
  • Don’t smoke or take nicotine in any form for at least 3 weeks and ideally longer before (and after) surgery
  • Stay well rested and well hydrated and eat a nutritious diet balanced with plenty of protein
  • If your diet is lacking in vitamins, take vitamin C and zinc supplementation but ask Dr. Sayed about other supplements. We have a list of ingredients we ask you to avoid in the immediate preop phase to optimize healing and minimize bleeding risk
  • Designate a caretaker who can help you through the first 3-5 days after your liposuction, or longer if you have multiple areas treated with liposuction in addition to the abdominal etching
  • Maintain your weight at a target which we can set together based on your body mass index (BMI) – ideally, we’d like to help you get it below 30 (or even closer to 22-25 for hi-def patients), but there is a reasonable range depending on other factors.

We don’t like to publish pricing as it is subject to market changes and dependent on the types of procedures you consider. Review our Pricing page to build a “wishlist” and get estimated pricing on liposuction or a combination of procedures. We also have a fee schedule available in the office after your consultation. Feel free to contact our San Diego office for a pre-consultation and we are happy to provide more information. The cost of your surgery will partly depend on where you have it and how much time we think it will take based on your body frame and the number and locations of areas you want treated (for example, if you are combining hi-def lipo with lipo of other areas, or gynecomastia treatment). Procedures that involve the front and back will require repositioning in the operating room, which is factored into operating time estimates at the time of your quote.