Diastasis recti, also known as rectus abdominis diastasis (RAD), is a condition in which the abdominal muscles have become separated. This condition, caused by pregnancy or other factors, typically presents as a prominent bulge down the middle of the stomach. Due to its appearance and location, many people with diastasis recti mistakenly think they have a hernia. In some cases, this condition will gradually heal on its own, but for many individuals, diastasis recti surgery is required to repair the abdominal muscles.
What Is Diastasis Recti?
When you have diastasis recti, it will usually develop as a sizable gap that runs down the center of your abdominal muscles. If the gap between your strengths is more than two fingers wide, it’s diastasis recti. The condition most commonly develops in women in the later stages of pregnancy but can also occur after childbirth, in newborns, and in the elderly. Individuals experiencing diastasis recti are at increased risk of developing a hernia, experiencing urinary incontinence, and dealing with back pain.
When Do You Need Surgery for Diastasis Recti?
Not everyone who develops diastasis recti necessarily needs to have the condition surgically corrected. For some patients, diastasis recti can gradually heal independently with the help of abdominal exercises and/or physical therapy. However, if the condition negatively impacts your quality of life and doesn’t seem to improve, diastasis recti surgery is likely the best option.
How Is Diastasis Recti Surgery Performed?
Typically, surgery will correct diastasis recti by stitching the abdominal muscles back together. This procedure is often performed as part of a tummy tuck. Many women who have gone through pregnancy experience loss, sagging abdominal skin, and separated abdominal muscles. Combining a tummy tuck and diastasis recti repair, those individuals can treat their condition while achieving a firmer, more toned midsection.
Benefits of Diastasis Recti Surgery
If you’re experiencing a separation of your abdominal muscles, diastasis recti surgery can provide you with some or all of the following benefits:
- Corrects the gap between your abdominal muscles
- Eliminates the unsightly bulge caused by diastasis recti
- Creates a slimmer, more toned abdomen
- Strengthens the pelvic floor and alleviates urinary incontinence
- Alleviates lower back pain
- Reduces the likelihood of developing a hernia
- Strengthens the abdominal muscles
- Increased self-confidence
How Long Is the Recovery Time?
After your diastasis recti surgery, Dr. Shafa will provide thorough instructions to ensure a smooth recovery process. Resting frequently for the first couple of weeks will be essential, but you should start taking light walks around the house as soon as you feel up to it. Most patients can return to work after approximately two to three weeks, but you’ll need to wait between six and eight weeks before doing any heavy lifting or engaging in strenuous exercise. You must also wear a unique compression garment for several weeks after your procedure.
Am I a Candidate for Diastasis Recti Surgery?
Adults experiencing the symptoms of diastasis recti could be good candidates for diastasis recti repair surgery. To be an ideal candidate for the procedure, you should:
- Be in generally good physical health
- Have a case of diastasis recti that doesn’t seem to be healing on its
- Have had at least one year to heal since giving birth
- Have realistic expectations for the procedure
- Be a non-smoker
- Not be currently pregnant or nursing
Why Choose Dr. Shafa for Your Diastasis Recti Treatment?
To ensure a smooth, successful diastasis recti surgery, you must choose a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon. Dr. Brian Shafa is a board-eligible plastic surgeon known for his attention to detail, precision, and superb, natural-looking results. He understands that every patient has unique needs and goals, so he puts in the time and effort to get to know each person he works with. He and his team will ensure that your diastasis recti treatment is carefully tailored to your situation and provides exceptional results. If you’re ready to schedule a consultation, give our office a call today.