Diastasis Recti Repair
Diastasis recti, also known as abdominal separation, describes a condition when the stomach sticks out because the muscles in the abdomen have widened. This condition occurs most often during pregnancy and can be temporary or linger after childbirth.
Diastasis Recti Repair
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
Pregnancy and childbirth can dramatically alter a woman's body. While the baby is developing in the mother's womb, the abdominal muscles stretch in order to accommodate the growing fetus. Usually, the abdominal muscles will return to their normal position after childbirth, but for some women, the muscles stay separated creating a loose, sagging appearance to the abdomen known as diastasis recti. Diastasis recti can also occur in men and is usually caused, and exacerbated, by improper workout and lifting techniques. While some cases can be improved with proper exercise and physical therapy, severe cases may require surgical intervention. Diastasis recti surgery is typically performed alongside an abdominoplasty but can be completed as a standalone procedure if excess fat and skin does not need to be removed. If the patient also has an umbilical hernia due to severe diastasis recti, that condition will also be addressed during surgery. Patients will require general anesthesia. A horizontal incision will be made between the belly button and the pubic area. Skin and tissue above the abdominal fascia will be undermined and elevated to the belly button. An incision will be made around the belly button to free the umbilical stalk. Abdominal dissection and elevation will continue to the bottom of the patient's rib cage. Next, the separated abdominal muscles will be stitched back together using non dissolvable sutures at several depths for better reinforcement. Once the tightening of the muscles is complete, the belly button will be reattached to the outer skin, the abdominal skin will be pulled back down to the pubic area, and incisions will be sutured close.
The goal of diastasis recti repair is to repair or tighten a patient's abdominal muscles and correct any corresponding issues such as a hernia.
What to Expect
Diastasis recti, also known as abdominal separation, describes a condition when the stomach sticks out because the muscles in the abdomen have widened. Here is quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after a diastsis recti repair surgery.
- Stop smoking 4 weeks before and after the procedure
- Stop taking blood thinning medication 2 weeks before and after surgery
- Start taking stool softeners 2 days before surgery
- General anesthesia
- Horizontal incision between belly button and pubic area
- Skin and tissue undermined and elevated to the belly button
- Incision made around belly button to free umbilical stalk
- Abdominal dissection and elevation continued to bottom of rib cage
- Separated abdominal muscles stitched back together
- Belly button reattached
- Abdominal skin pulled back down to pubic area
- Sutures to close
Drains will be in place for approximately two weeks after surgery. Swelling can last for six weeks, wear a compression garment during this period. Take care to not reopen the wound for three months, which means being careful to not bend or lift anything improperly. It can take up to a year to fully recover after surgery.
The ideal candidate for diastasis recti repair is a patient who's abdominal muscles have separated along the midline, resulting in a swollen appearance that cannot be eliminated with diet and exercise.
Not Recommended For
Diastasis recti repair is not recommended for patients who have not first tried to repair their abdominal muscles with proper diet and exercise. This procedure is not recommended for patients who are less than 1 year post partum.
Side effects of diastasis recti repair can include bruising, swelling, pain and discomfort, unfavorable scarring, and unsatisfied results.