Treating Diastasis Recti (DR) With a Tummy Tuck
When 2/3 of all women experience a medical condition postpartum, it seems that it would be significant enough to mention, yet there is relatively little information available about Diastasis Recti (DR) or the ways to treat the condition. DR is more common in women who have carried multiples, large babies, or are shorter than average.
Can DR just go away?
As women’s bodies grow during pregnancy, the muscles in their abdominal wall expand. That’s a fairly obvious statement, isn’t it? Some women already have a pre-existing weakness in their abdominal wall so that their abdominal muscles are open before they become pregnant. This separation obviously expands as their baby bump does. After delivery, these muscles can stay in the separated position, which can make a woman look like she’s pregnant for months or years to come. Some lucky women find that this condition self-resolves, often between 6 and 12 weeks postpartum.
While Diastasis Recti in isolation is not harmful to a woman’s health, it can cause unpleasant secondary conditions. When the core muscle wall is weak, other muscles can overcompensate for the weakness, causing back pain. Emotionally, DR can be difficult for women’s self-esteem and self image.
Are there co-existing conditions with DR?
It is important to note that in addition to core muscle weakness, most women diagnosed with DR will also have some pelvic floor muscle weakness concurrently. There is some speculation that there is a genetic tie between the two conditions.
In rare circumstances, an umbilical hernia can develop in the muscle wall, which requires surgical treatment and can be quite painful. The silver lining to an umbilical hernia is that in these cases, surgical reparation is considered medically necessary and covered by health insurance. Having surgical correction of DR without an umbilical hernia is seen as a cosmetic treatment option and therefore, not medically necessary.
What are the treatment options for DR?
A personal trainer or physical therapist can help design a strengthening program that can help strengthen core muscles. Women who have DR should avoid sit-ups, crunches and oblique twists, as these exercises are counterproductive and put added stress on the abdominal walls.
It is unadvisable to have surgery to correct Diastasis Recti if you are generally unwell, plan on having more children, or are susceptible to fluctuations in your weight, as the outcome of the surgery will not be as positive if any of these conditions are not met.
Dr. Bishop has been practicing since 1998 as a plastic surgeon in Utah County, specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. He offers compassionate care and works to help women with DR through performing tummy tucks in Utah, carefully stitching the separated muscles back together as part of the procedure. His patients are pleased with their results and returning their body to its pre-baby state.