Diastasis Recti (Is a tummy tuck the solution?)

Dr. Robert Schwartz
September 26, 2022

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti is the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles - usually during or after pregnancy. This muscle runs vertically along your stomach and is more commonly known as “the abs" muscle. Diastasis recti can happen when the linea alba (the line between your left and right ab muscles) is overstretched and cannot return together. The result is a visible belly bulge that appears to stick out just above or below the belly button, making you appear pregnant months or years after giving birth.
Even though diastasis recti is most common among pregnant and postpartum women, it can affect anyone. Obesity can cause diastasis recti in men and women due to the additional pressure put on the abdominal muscles by excess belly fat. Some patients with diastasis recti may also experience back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, and in some cases, are at an increased risk of developing hernias.

But can a tummy tuck fix this condition?

The answer is yes! A tummy tuck, or Abdominoplasty, is designed to tighten and add support to the abdomen. During your tummy tuck, Dr. Schwartz places permanent sutures to reconnect the facia and effectively repair the diastasis recti. The result is a flatter, tighter tummy that has a more contoured look. Since closing the diastasis recti decreases the abdominal circumference, it can cause some loose belly skin to appear. A tummy tuck tackles this problem specifically. It doesn’t only repair the muscles; it also flattens the belly and removes any excess loose skin.

Can working out provide the same results as an abdominoplasty?

Working out can definitely strengthen your core (which includes your pelvic floor and ab muscles). While it can help, sport alone cannot fully repair the physical defect between your abdominal muscles. Diastasis recti can only be fixed by bringing the muscles back together and filling in that gap so that it doesn’t bulge out anymore. Because diastasis recti varies from person to person, some people may be able to work out to have a better overall physique and be satisfied with their results. However, the bulge and separation are usually significant enough so that working out alone is not enough.

Can I get diastasis recti after having a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck rarely becomes undone. Having a pregnancy after a tummy tuck can (but not always) lead to a return of abdominal laxity.

What happens if I bust the internal stitches that hold it together?

After a tummy tuck, the body needs considerable time to heal. Avoiding any strenuous activity that might strain the abdomen is necessary during this stage when the body is most vulnerable. It will help in reducing the swelling and allow the stitches to heal without disruption.  If you move abruptly and think you tore a stitch, the feeling will not be subtle. You will likely feel a sharp pain, bruising or even a bulge may appear. If this happens, you will need to follow up with your surgeon immediately so that you can be evaluated in person at the office.

Learn how Robert Schwartz can help you with your tummy tuck needs.

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