Can a Tummy Tuck Help with Diastasis Rectus Repair?


People often ask about diastasis rectus repair. More specifically, many want to know whether a tummy tuck can help with diastasis rectus repair or whether another procedure would be a better option.

Sometimes mothers ask for a “mommy makeover.” This may involve one or more procedures to help cosmetically counteract some of their bodies’ changes from pregnancy and childbirth. One of the most common concerns is diastasis recti which refer to separated abdominal muscles.

We hope this article helps you as you research and weigh your options. It isn’t a substitute for personalized medical care but may give you a good starting point as you talk with a cosmetic surgeon to discover whether a tummy tuck procedure is right for you.

What is diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti is common among pregnant women and those who have been pregnant. According to WebMD, as many as two-thirds of pregnant women get it. The abdominals stretch and, as a result, separate.

Imagine someone with six-pack abs. Really, everyone has a six-pack that may be hidden under a layer of fat and skin. The left and right ab muscles have a thin band of connective tissue known as the linea alba in between them. If the linea alba and abs are persistently stretched beyond their range, they may separate. Pregnancy is one of the most common causes, but others include rapid weight gain, injury from some ab work, etc.

Diastasis recti is defined by an abdominal gap wider than 2 centimeters or two or three fingers’ width.

As mentioned, when the abdominal muscles separate, then the belly sticks out more since the space between the left and right abdominal muscles widens. Some new moms complain about their new “pooch.” The condition causes health and quality life concerns in addition to aesthetic concerns. Some experience leaking bladders, trouble breathing, and pain.

Some of the common symptoms and side effects include:

  • A “pooch” or bulge just above or below the naval
  • When you contract your abs, you may notice doming
  • Difficulty walking, lifting things, or even performing day-to-day activities
  • Difficulty maintaining good posture
  • Weak core muscles
  • After coughing or sneezing, urine may leak
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic pain and possibly pain during sex
  • Hip or low back pain
  • A sensation of “jelly-like” softness near the belly button

Diastasis recti is not itself painful, but some of the associated side effects can be very painful. Many people develop diastasis recti during pregnancy and don’t even notice until later after they deliver.

In many cases, the diastasis recti heals and repairs over time or with the aid of physical therapy. Others are not as fortunate, especially after having multiple babies. A tummy tuck can be a solution.

How a Tummy Tuck Can Help

Your surgeon may use a tummy tuck procedure for diastasis rectus repair. Please skip this paragraph if descriptions of operations upset you. We share this information for those who like to be informed about how things work. Your surgeon starts by making a tummy tuck incision just below the bikini line. They remove any unwanted sagging skin during the procedure and then stitch up the separated abdominal muscles.

diastasis rectus repair

After the tummy tuck, the belly is flatter and smoother. Many feel like they regained their pre-pregnancy physiques. Although the operation leaves a small scar around the hip line, some women feel more comfortable, confident and regain their quality of life after their tummy tuck. Usually, the scar can be hidden under many styles of bikinis.

The procedure also addresses many of the uncomfortable or painful side effects. A tummy tuck may even help in cases where the woman experiences low back pain or a hernia associated with the condition.

Even if you don’t have any painful negative side effects, it is your choice whether you wish to get a tummy tuck to help with any aesthetic concerns you may have. Most women with diastasis recti also have excess or stretched skin as both frequently occur due to the weight gain of pregnancy and the relatively quick weight loss after delivery. A tummy tuck can effectively treat both.

Here are some signs that it may be a good time for you to consider a tummy tuck:

  • More than a year has passed since your most recent pregnancy, and your diastasis recti haven’t healed on its own or through physical therapy yet.
  • You don’t have immediate plans to get pregnant again.
  • You are generally healthy and strong enough for surgery.
  • You are a non-smoker and at a stable weight.
  • You feel self-conscious or want to improve how your abdominal area looks.

Talk with a skilled cosmetic surgeon about your health, quality of life, and aesthetic concerns. The surgeon will help you navigate this personal choice during your consultation. If you plan to have more children, let your surgeon know since that may factor in whether you are ready for a tummy tuck.

While a tummy tuck is a highly effective procedure, no treatment option is appropriate for every individual. Your surgeon will help you determine whether it is the right choice for you.

Next Steps: Schedule a Consultation

If you consider a tummy tuck to help with diastasis rectus repair, your first step is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Take the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Also, your surgeon will talk you through how to prepare for the procedure, what it involves, and what to anticipate during the healing and recovery process. You should also be able to see before and after photographs to develop a realistic sense of the kind of results you might experience.

Contact us today to learn more about your options.