Diastasis Recti Repair: Surgery, Cost, Benefits, Risk, Procedure

Sometimes the diastasis recti repair can be a must after pregnancy if you like to look yourself fit. As a Plastic Surgeon Specialist, I have highlighted everything about diastasis recti in this article.

Diastasis recti are the partially or completely separated rectus abdominis, or six-pack muscles that meet at the midline of your stomach. Diastasis recti is a frequent condition that occurs during and after pregnancy. The uterus stretches the muscles in your belly to make room for your growing baby. 

According to one research, up to 60% of women might develop diastasis recti during pregnancy or after giving birth. However, the disease isn’t just associated with pregnancy. Anyone, even newborn babies and males, can be affected too. It can occur as a result of improperly lifting big weights or conducting excessive or dangerous abdominal activities.

It is a growing uterus that strains the abdominal muscles during pregnancy. This can induce diastasis recti, or diastasis recti abdominis, in which the two major parallel bands of muscles that meet in the center of the abdomen (rectus muscles) become separated by an unnatural distance.

Where the two muscles split, the diastasis recti can generate a bulge in the center of the belly. Only when the abdominal muscles are strained, such as when you change from laying down to sitting up, will you detect the issue. 

You may like our recent publications on UTI or STD and Bladder Sling Complications. These two articles will be very helpful if you have any problems regarding urinary before approaching the diastasis recti repair surgery.

Diastasis recti weaken the abdominal muscles, resulting in lower back discomfort and making it difficult to move things or do other everyday tasks.

Diastasis recti repair
Diastasis Recti

What are the cause of rectus diastasis?

Diastasis recti is caused by excessive inner-abdominal pressure. Your abdominal muscles and connective structures stretch out when your uterus expands during pregnancy. Relaxin and estrogen, which are produced during pregnancy, aid them in their progress. Diastasis recti can also be caused by pushing during delivery. It’s normal to have some abdominal separation during and after pregnancy.

Body mass index (BMI), weight growth during pregnancy, infant weight, and maternal age were once thought to be risk factors. However, according to a 2015 study, there is no link between these characteristics and whether or not pregnant women are more prone to have the illness.

5 Problems the diastasis recti cause

Lower back discomfort, constipation, and urine spilling are all possible adverse effects of diastasis recti. It might also make it difficult to breathe and move about. Tissue can rupture and develop a hernia, which causes organs to protrude through the gap. The issues and symptoms of diastasis recti are more than just aesthetic. Rectus divarication can result in a number of cosmetic and functional issues, including:

1. Bulging

A protruding tummy is the most prevalent sign of rectus diastasis. A visible protrusion above, below, or all-around the belly button is common among women with divided abdominal muscles. The soft space between the muscles can develop so big in certain women that bulging can approach the size of a football.

Diastasis recti repair: Hernia
Diastasis recti repair: Hernia

2. Hernia

Your robust abdominal wall, which comprises the rectus abdominis and the linea alba, normally protects and contains your abdominal cavity. The linea alba is particularly weak and extended in women who have rectus divarication. The linea alba may rupture in some of these ladies.

Intestines and abdominal fat can slide through the hole and push up from beneath your skin if this happens. A hernia is the medical term for this condition. The umbilicus (in many women, the belly button becomes “an outie” after giving birth, and this is generally a hernia) is a fairly frequent location of the hernia.

Rectus diastasis and hernia repair might be done at the same time in such circumstances. Hernias can cause a variety of issues. If a bowel loop becomes lodged in the defect, intestinal blockage can occur, which is a medical emergency that requires rapid treatment. This is why, if you think you have an ab separation or a hernia, you should see a surgeon.

3. Pain in the lower back

Lower back discomfort is one of the signs of diastasis recti. The rectus abdominis muscle is an important component of your core muscles, which are responsible for your balance and posture. 

Rectus divarication causes the rectus abdominis muscle to weaken, putting additional strain on your back muscles, which contract abnormally to compensate for the imbalance. 

Chronic lower back pain might result from this unnatural stretching of the back muscles. Fortunately, a stomach tuck combined with muscle restoration can help alleviate back pain after childbirth.

4. Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is prevalent after delivery and pregnancy. Incontinence in women after pregnancy is frequently caused by weak abdominal muscles and a weak pelvic floor. 

When laughing, sneezing, or exercising, many women wear pads to avoid spilling urine. 

Urinary incontinence after pregnancy may be treated by abdominoplasty. Diastasis recti treatment following a stomach tuck can considerably reduce incontinence, according to a 2018 research published in the journal of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

5. Digestional issues

Rectus divarication causes your intestines to move around inside your belly in unexpected ways. This might result in gastrointestinal issues including constipation and abdominal pain. If you have a hernia, the bowel loops can occasionally become stuck in the defect. 

This might result in discomfort as well as constipation. You risk having a bowel blockage if a loop becomes lodged and doesn’t go back in. If this happens, you’ll require surgery right away.

What are the benefits of diastasis recti repair surgery? 
What are the benefits of diastasis recti repair surgery? 

7 Benefits of diastasis recti repair surgery

Diastasis recti can help relieve uncomfortable symptoms and improve your quality of life in addition to returning your belly to a flatter contour. If exercise does not help your look, or if your problems are becoming more severe, surgery may be the best option. Repairing diastasis recti provides a number of advantages, including:

  1. A better posture
  2. Stress urinary incontinence is less common
  3. Decrease in the intensity of stomach discomfort
  4. Decreased lower back pain
  5. Constipation is less of a problem
  6. A more powerful pelvic floor
  7. A stomach that is flatter and more appealing

Diastasis recti repair treatment

During pregnancy, the majority of women will have some abdominal separation. This might cause back or pelvic pain by weakening your core. During the day, you may need to use a binder or Tubigrip for support. Also, keep the following in mind:

  1. Refrain from doing any hard lifting or putting any additional strain on your abdominal muscles until after you’ve given birth
  2. Improve your posture
  3. When seated, use a towel or cushion behind you to support your lower back
  4. When getting in or out of bed, or standing up off the floor, bend your knees, roll, and support yourself with your arm

You may continue to strengthen your core while pregnant, but stick to modified, pregnancy-safe diastasis recti workouts. After giving birth, diastasis recti in some women may correct itself when the ab muscles regain strength. Exercises may assist if you’re still suffering symptoms or separation eight weeks after giving birth. 

The exercises can be done at home or with the help of a physical therapist or a postpartum fitness professional. Diastasis recti is commonly treated postpartum with pelvic floor and deep stomach muscle exercises. 

Before you begin exercising after birth, always consult with your doctor and receive their consent. Following your doctor’s approval, begin a diastasis recti-specific workout.

How to prepare for the Diastasis recti treatment?
How to prepare for the Diastasis recti treatment?

How to prepare for the diastasis recti repair treatment?

Staying healthy in the weeks preceding up to your operation, fasting the night before your procedure, and arranging for someone to drive you home after the surgery are all part of diastasis recti surgery preparation. What you’ll need to do to prepare for diastasis recti surgery is listed below.

1. Location

The majority of diastasis recti operations are performed as outpatient procedures. Because you don’t have to stay in the hospital overnight, it’s commonly referred to as “day surgery.” Your procedure will be arranged in a facility that specializes in outpatient procedures. 

Older individuals, neonates, and those with specific medical issues, on the other hand, may need to be admitted to the hospital to have their diastasis recti corrected. Inpatient surgery is the term for this type of procedure.

2. What to Put On

Wear loose, comfortable clothing on the day of your procedure. You want something that is simple to take on and off. Here are a few suggestions: Choose a shirt with a front that opens easily. Wear anything that you won’t have to pull over your head. You might also wear a hoodie or a button-up shirt.

Drawstring pants and slip-on shoes are convenient and comfy for bottoms and shoes. Choose clothing that is simple to clean or that you don’t mind getting filthy. There may be bleeding where you were cut after your procedure. Even though they’ll be wearing bandages, your clothes could be ruined.

3. Food & Beverage

In the days leading up to your operation, you’ll have to observe some restrictions. One of the most crucial instructions you’ll receive from your surgeon is to refrain from eating or drinking for a particular period of time before surgery. Fasting is the term for this.

You should usually stop eating at least eight hours before you need to go to the hospital. You may be permitted to drink clear beverages, such as water, up to two hours before your procedure. 

4. Don’t  Eat or Drink Before Your Surgery

Before your operation, your doctor may advise you to stop taking some of your medications. Because certain drugs thin your blood and make it easier for you to bleed, you should avoid them.

Prescription drugs can thin your blood in a variety of ways. 

Many over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal therapies, on the other hand, can have a similar impact. Aspirin is a frequent example of an over-the-counter drug that you should avoid using before surgery. Tell your doctor about all of your drugs when you’re getting ready for surgery. Over-the-counter medications, nutritional supplements, and herbal therapies are all examples of this.

5. What Should You Bring?

You will need to bring many vital items with you on the day of your procedure. The first is a confidante. After your procedure, you won’t be able to drive. You’ll need someone you can trust to get you home securely.

You must also bring the following documents:

  • Personal identification (such as a driver’s license) is required.
  • Information about health insurance (if you have it)
  • Any documentation that your surgeon’s office has requested that you complete
  • There are some items you should leave at home as well. Bring no valuables or large sums of money with you. Leave your favorite pieces of jewelry or timepiece at home. 
  • Leave your favorite pieces of jewelry or timepiece at home. If you’re bringing a phone or tablet, make sure to hand it over to your support person while you prepare for surgery.

Lifestyle Changes Prior to Diastasis Recti Repair Surgery

Being as healthy as possible before surgery will aid you in completing the process and recovering from it. If you’re undergoing diastasis recti surgery, your surgeon may explain why it’s so crucial to maintain a healthy weight. The skin of your abdomen might stretch out if you lose or gain a lot of weight following a treatment like a tummy tuck.

Before your operation, your healthcare practitioner will advise you to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Exercises that put a strain on your abdomen, on the other hand, should be avoided. Crunches, for example, may aggravate diastasis recti.

There are also certain workout routines designed to aid diastasis recti sufferers. Before your operation, you might be able to work with a physical therapist to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

What to expect on the day of surgery for diastasis recti
What to expect on the day of surgery for diastasis recti

What to expect on the day of surgery for diastasis recti

Here’s what to expect when it’s time to undergo your diastasis recti surgery.

Prior to Diastasis Recti Repair Surgery

What to do the night before and the morning of your operation will be determined by your surgeon. They could have you wash your body with antibacterial soap, for example. This may aid in the prevention of infections.

Carefully follow the directions. Call your surgeon’s office if you have any queries. In the days and weeks leading up to your operation, it’s helpful to express your worries or ask questions. You won’t have much time to speak with your surgeon on the day of the procedure.

What Should You Ask Your Plastic Surgeon?
What Should You Ask Your Plastic Surgeon?

What Should you Ask your Plastic Surgeon?

Make a plan ahead of time to ensure that you arrive at your surgical location on time. 

You will change into a hospital gown when you arrive. You can be provided a bag to carry your belongings and clothes in. Your support person can take care of it.

Check in with a surgical assistant or nurse to see how you’re doing. Your vital signs will be taken (for example, your temperature and your blood pressure). Make sure they know if you’re not feeling well or if you’ve had a fever.

Your procedure will be performed under a general anesthetic. The drug puts you to sleep, but it’s a much deeper slumber. You’ll also be given medication that prevents you from moving throughout the procedure. When you wake up, you won’t feel any pain or remember anything about the procedure.

The anesthesiologist (the doctor in charge of administering anesthesia) will come to speak with you. They will ask you to read a paper outlining your rights as a patient. This is referred to as a waiver. Before undergoing surgery, each patient must read and sign the consent form.

The anesthesiologist will give you some drugs to help you relax once the paperwork is completed. After that, you’ll be prepared to enter the surgery room.

Can you get diastasis recti surgery without a tummy tuck?
Can you get diastasis recti surgery without a tummy tuck?

Can you get diastasis recti repair surgery without a tummy tuck?

Yes, you can in theory, but in fact, rectus correction is usually done as part of a complete stomach tuck. Almost all women with rectus abdominis muscle separation also have stretched stomach skin, lower belly fat, and extra tissue across the abdomen.

The drooping abdominal skin and extra fat are not addressed by diastasis recti surgery alone. This is why the great majority of women opt for the full abdominoplasty operation, which provides them with the surgery’s full aesthetic advantage.

Who’s a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
Who’s a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

Who’s a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is a technique that is specifically customized to the patient’s needs. You should do it for yourself, not to satisfy the demands of others or to conform to some ideal picture.

In general, you may be an excellent candidate for a tummy tuck if:

  1. You are physically fit and maintain a healthy weight
  2. Set reasonable goals for yourself
  3. You don’t smoke
  4. You’re worried by the way your abdomen looks
  5. You have no intention of becoming pregnant again
  6. It’s been more than a year since your previous pregnancy
  7. Your general health is fine, and your chronic illnesses are under control
  8. Accept the scar near your bikini line
How is diastasis recti surgery performed?
How is diastasis recti surgery performed?

How is diastasis recti surgery performed?

Diastasis recti can be managed with the right exercises and physical treatment. Your doctor may propose surgery if you have a severe case of the disease. Abdominoplasty is the procedure that is frequently used to repair diastasis recti (popularly known as tummy tuck surgery).

Abdominoplasty is a technique that can be performed as an outpatient or as an inpatient. You will normally be dismissed the same day if you have an outpatient operation. Your hospital stay for the inpatient surgery might last up to two days.

During the Operation of diastasis recti repair

Your procedure can begin once you have been given an anesthetic. Your surgeon will either make a large incision (open) or a few smaller cuts with a camera to do the surgery.

If you’re having a tiny tummy tuck, your surgeon will first make an incision between your pubic bone and a belly button that runs side to side. Only the skin below your belly button is tightened in a small tummy tuck. The skin will then be lifted. The abdominal muscles are stitched back together and placed in the proper position by the surgeon. Your surgeon will repair a hernia if you have one.

Your surgeon will trim the surplus skin when the repairs are completed. They achieve this by stitching the remaining skin together by tugging it down. Suturing is another term for this. Your surgeon will need to construct you a new belly button because the skin has been shifted about. When they’re finished, they use adhesives, clamps, tapes, or extra stitches to seal the wound. 

If you’re undergoing a stomach tuck, liposuction may be used to eliminate abdominal fat. Before your operation, your surgeon will walk you through the phases of the process. A laparoscopy involves your surgeon making a few tiny incisions in your abdomen. They placed tools and a camera inside the cuts to inspect and fix them. This procedure is sometimes known as “keyhole” surgery.

Compared to open surgery, laparoscopic surgery is less invasive. It’s also known as “minimally invasive” because fewer cuts are required. It’s also known as “minimally invasive” since fewer cuts are required. You’ll still need a lot of time to recover.

Following the Surgery of diastasis recti repair

After surgery, you should be able to go home within a few hours. You may need to stay in the hospital overnight if you experienced any issues during the surgery or if you have specific medical conditions. This helps your medical staff to monitor your condition.

Your wounds will be wrapped in bandages. As you begin to heel, you will have drains on your body to let the excess fluid to drain. You will be taught how to clean the drains. It is critical that you carefully follow the directions.

You will also be given something to wear around your midsection that will apply pressure to it. A compression garment is what it’s called. It gives support and can aid in the reduction of edema.

Within a day or two, you will see your doctor again.

They may remove the compression garment to assess your healing progress. You’ll have to take the garment off and on for approximately a week after that. If you’re uncomfortable, you could require assistance.

What to expect during recovery from rectus diastasis surgery? 
What to expect during recovery from rectus diastasis surgery? 

What to expect during recovery from rectus diastasis surgery? 

Following your operation, you will be sent to your hospital room to recover. You may need to stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring before being discharged the next day. One or two surgical drains may protrude from your incisions to allow the fluid to drain away. These may be maintained for a few days after you’ve been discharged, but they’ll be removed in the clinic later.

You should expect some muscular tightness and pain for the first few days following your diastasis recti surgery since it includes muscle restoration. Swelling and bruising will appear on your wounds. It might take up to two weeks for these symptoms to go away. You should relax and avoid mild physical exertion throughout this time.

It might take up to 6 weeks to recover from rectus diastasis correction, following which you can normally resume your normal activities and return to work. During this time, you’ll also need to wear abdominal compression garments.

Does rectus diastasis repair leave a scar?
Does rectus diastasis repair leave a scar?

Does rectus diastasis repair leave a scar?

Abdominoplasty with muscle restoration, like any other operation, produces a tiny scar. Because the scar will be along your bikini line, it will be nicely disguised under your underwear. You don’t have to be concerned about your scar showing through in a bikini. We also provide a number of post-operative therapies to help decrease scarring.

What are the possible complications of diastasis recti surgery?
What are the possible complications of diastasis recti surgery?

What are the possible complications of diastasis recti surgery?

Rectus diastasis correction is a safe operation, however, it might lead to the following complications:

  1. Infection of the wound
  2. Collection of blood in the wound (hematoma)
  3. Collection of fluid in the wound (seroma)
  4. Dehiscence of a wound (sutures breaking)
  5. With excellent aftercare and follow-up from your plastic surgeon, you can lessen the risk of these problems

Does medicare cover diastasis recti surgery?

The procedure will be reimbursed by Medicare and third-party insurance if rectus diastasis is causing you stomach discomfort, urine incontinence, and/or lower back pain. If it has been more than 12 months since your previous pregnancy and your rectus diastasis symptoms are interfering with your quality of life, you may be eligible for reimbursement.

However, you should be aware that you will almost certainly incur some out-of-pocket expenses.

Can exercise help fix diastasis recti?
Can exercise help fix diastasis recti?

Can exercise help fix diastasis recti?

Crunches, planks, and sit-ups are examples of at-home workouts that might exacerbate belly muscle split by increasing intra abdominal pressure. Only particular workouts that focus on core activities and are performed with a professional physiotherapist will help minimize rectus diastasis.

After pregnancy, rectus diastasis is a relatively prevalent problem in women. Lower back pain, incontinence, hernia, and abdominal discomfort are all potential rectus diastasis consequences.

Fortunately, a stomach tuck with muscle restoration can alleviate these symptoms while also rejuvenating your abdomen and restoring your pre-pregnancy figure.

Diastasis recti surgery cost 
Diastasis recti surgery cost 

Diastasis recti surgery cost 

The cost of repairing a diastasis recti can range from $5,000 to $19,000. The cost of a diastasis recti correction is determined by the patient’s location, board-certified plastic surgeon, and the length and complexity of the procedure.

Diastasis recti repair without surgery

You can go for diastasis recti therapy. Physical therapists can show you which activities to avoid and which exercises to undertake to develop your abdominal muscles. They can also teach you proper posture, mobility, and lifting skills.

It might be difficult to know where to start when it comes to receiving care for your diastasis recti, and physical therapy may not be covered by your insurance. Some physical therapists may not be experienced with how to treat the issue in women who have recently given birth, so make sure you check with the physical therapy clinic to see whether they can help you.

While physical therapy and exercise may not be able to entirely cure your diastasis recti, practicing the proper exercises will help retrain your muscles and narrow the gap more effectively than no treatment at all. Different online programs and accessories, such as support belts, braces, and waist trainers, are also available to assist hold the muscles in place.

Diastasis recti treatment
Diastasis recti in men surgery

Diastasis recti in men surgery

This medical disease affects mostly postpartum women, however, it can also impact men. Lower back discomfort, bad posture, constipation, and bloating are some of the symptoms of diastasis recti (apart from a bulging stomach). A tummy tuck is a therapy option for men who are suffering from diastasis recti.

Tummy tuck surgery is particularly popular among women who want to tighten their abdominal contours after pregnancy, but it is also beneficial to males. According to research done by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), more males are undergoing cosmetic surgery. 

Question & Answers on Diastasis Recti Repire

How much time is needed for recovery from the Diastasis recti surgery?
How much time is needed for recovery from the Diastasis recti surgery?

How much time is needed for recovery from the Diastasis recti surgery?

The time it takes for people to recuperate from diastasis recti surgery varies. Any underlying medical issues or complications that arise during or after surgery may have an impact on the recovery time. The recovery time for abdominal swelling is approximately 6 weeks.

Can I have Diastasis recti without being pregnant?
Can I have Diastasis recti without being pregnant?

Can I have Diastasis recti without being pregnant?

When non-pregnant women are beyond the age of 35 or have a kid with a high birth weight, multiple-birth pregnancies, or many pregnancies, they are more likely to develop diastasis recti. Excessive abdominal workouts beyond the first trimester of pregnancy might also be a contributing factor.

How will I separate diastasis recti from belly fat?
How will I separate diastasis recti from belly fat?

How will I separate diastasis recti from belly fat?

Move your other hand above and below your belly button, and all along your midline Ab muscles. See if you can fit any fingers in the gaps between your muscles. 4. If you feel a gap, or separation of one to two finger lengths, you likely have a case of diastasis recti.

Who are more likely to have diastasis recti
Who are more likely to have diastasis recti

Who are more likely to have diastasis recti?

If you’ve carried multiples or a large baby to term and are of modest size and fit, or if you’re 35 or older, you’re more likely to develop diastasis recti as a result of pregnancy.

Is Diastasis Recti a problem with Bowel movement ?
Is Diastasis Recti a problem with Bowel movement ?

Is Diastasis Recti a problem with Bowel movement?

Quite often, the response is a resounding yes. Some of your essential biological processes might be jeopardized when the linea alba is disrupted. The muscles in your core play a vital part in compressing the digestive system, and a diastasis recti affects the digestion of the vast majority of women. Many folks are astonished to learn that after their DR heals or becomes more effective, their digestive difficulties go away. This, however, does not apply to everyone.

Can Stomach Pain Be Caused by Diastasis Recti?
Can Stomach Pain Be Caused by Diastasis Recti?

Can Stomach Pain Be Caused by Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti can cause stomach pain due to weakening core muscles and strained linea alba. It might be connected to stomach troubles produced by the separation in certain circumstances. If you’re still having digestive problems, such as bloating or constipation, following diastasis recti rehab, I recommend consulting a nutritionist to figure out what’s wrong.

Can Diastasis Recti Make You Gain Weight?
Can Diastasis Recti Make You Gain Weight?

Can Diastasis Recti Make You Gain Weight?

A diastasis recti does not usually result in weight gain. Rapid weight fluctuations (weight increase or reduction) can, however, have a significant impact on the strength of your core. 

The immense changes your body undergoes while your kid grows inside of you apply strain on the linea alba and rectus abdominis muscles, just as they do during pregnancy. The connective fibers in your body stretch to compensate for the expansion of your uterus, causing ab separation.

Purpose of the surgery of Diastasis recti
Purpose of the surgery of Diastasis recti

Purpose of the surgery of Diastasis recti repire

Surgery seems to be the only option to correct diastasis recti in the majority of situations. However, you should be aware that insurance may not cover diastasis recti surgery. It’s classified as an elective operation, which means it may be arranged in advance. To put it another way, it’s not an emergency. Diastasis recti surgery is sometimes referred to as a cosmetic operation. 

The appearance of your belly alters if you have diastasis recti. While cosmetic surgery might help you look better, it’s not the primary reason individuals get it done. After a belly tuck, many patients experience decreased back discomfort and no longer suffer incontinence.

Hernias can occur in people who have diastasis recti. When part of an organ or tissue pokes through the muscle in your belly, it’s called a hernia. It might be inconvenient and make it difficult to carry out your everyday tasks.

Diastasis recti repair near me

You should go to any nearby hospital and visit a plastic surgeon to know about the situation of your diastasis recti. First, be sure of your condition then go for further procedures.

Dr Vilma

M.D., MPH (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) Furman University, BS - Tulane University School of Public Health, MPH - University of Illinois at Chicago, MD

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