Want a "washboard abdomen"? Six-packs of stomach muscle have suddenly become the rage in the rarefied world of K-pop, Korea's incredibly popular youth music scene. Boy bands now perform with shirts off and midriffs exposed. Oddly, they all seem to be sporting stomachs of steel.
Why is this odd? Because South Koreans are well-known for their aversion to intense physical activity. Yes, they're thin, but they get that way mainly by using more passive methods such as diet drugs and not eating.
So, where has all this newfound muscle come from? In many cases, it isn't new at all but simply suddenly much easier to recognize.
"Abdominal etching" is a technique in which liposuction is used to selectively remove small amounts of fat in a manner that enhances the definition of the underlying musculature without requiring the muscle to overdevelop.
Many, if not most, physically-fit people don't sport natural six-packs no matter how hard they exercise. Sit-ups and weight loss aren't usually enough.
But by strategically removing fat residing between the skin and the rectus abdominis muscles, cosmetic surgeons can now create that appearance of a finely sculpted abdomen inside of their operating rooms instead of the gym.
Now even men in their thirties and forties can look like teen weight lifters on steroids. Not to be left out, women can do for the same, just less intensely and mostly down the midline between the breast bone and belly button.
Newer techniques such as laser lipolysis and better instrumentation like much smaller cannulas have made all this possible by taking body sculpting to a higher level of precision.
Muscle etching is not restricted to the abdomen, and can be used to better expose the underlying shape of just about any muscle group from the neck to the arms to the legs.
Combined with custom silicone implants for "bulking up" the chest, abdomen, buttocks, and even calves, 90 pound weaklings may soon appear indistinguishable from Olympians.
But alas, there are some serious downsides to the procedure. The operation isn't creating more muscle but simply making fat on the surface look like muscle by selectively gouging it out. Imagine what can happen as a buff twenty year old grows into a middle-aged man with a tummy. Fat could build up in those areas where fat still remained but not so much within the gouges. The unpredictable contouring could be bizarre.