What Is Diastasis Recti? And Can a Tummy Tuck Solve It?

Young woman considering a tummy tuck to address diastasis recti

Our bodies change as we go through life. And after major events, such as pregnancy or significant weight loss, those changes can leave a mark. As a plastic surgeon here in Gilbert, AZ, I receive many questions from patients who want their “old body” back via tummy tuck. Scottsdale-area men and women often say they’re embarrassed about their stubborn “belly pooch.”

What some may not know is that a belly pooch is often caused by a medical condition called diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is a problem many women face after pregnancy, especially if they had a heavy baby, twins, or triplets. Many nonsurgical methods claim to repair the abs and tone up a bulging midsection, but tummy tuck surgery is one of the few permanent, noticeable solutions to diastasis recti.

What is diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti is a condition where the left and right abdominal muscles have separated from each other, causing a protruding bulge along the lower abdomen. This often occurs during pregnancy as the growing baby places constant pressure on the muscle wall. Yo-yo dieting and improper exercise form (such as during weightlifting) are other common culprits.

While these weakened ab muscles can sometimes correct themselves over time, this isn’t always the case. Issues such as lower back pain and urine leaking are other potential side effects of this condition.

What are my diastasis recti treatment options?

Nonsurgical diastasis recti treatment options include yoga and physical therapy. Ab-focused exercises like sit-ups and planks should be avoided. The best surgical solution is a tummy tuck, as the doctor can directly strengthen the abdominal muscles and repair the core area.

Diet and exercise alone often can’t correct diastasis recti. If the muscle bands do not contract and naturally correct themselves after birth, then surgery is the only full solution.

How can diastasis recti be fixed with a tummy tuck?

During a tummy tuck, the surgeon stitches the weakened muscles back together and recreates a solid core. This supports the muscles and trains them to return to their natural position. Tummy tuck surgery is the most comprehensive diastasis recti treatment as it directly addresses the root issue: the protruding abdominal muscles beneath the skin.

A tummy tuck also has the added perk of removing loose, saggy skin and eliminating unwanted fat. For more transformative results, some mothers also combine their tummy tuck with a breast augmentation or liposuction, in a procedure called a mommy makeover.

If you’ve ever struggled with a stubborn belly pooch that won’t go away, don’t worry—you’re definitely not alone. With tummy tuck surgery performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, you can finally slim your midsection and feel much more confident.

Browse our before-and-after photos to see real examples of what tummy tuck surgery can create. If you have any other questions, request a consultation online or call (480) 466-7355.

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