Rectus Diastasis Repair: A Key Part of Tummy Tucks

Tummy tucks are one of the most common procedures we perform in our clinics and for good reason. In one surgery, it can completely transform the appearance of your belly and waist.  A big part of this transformation can come from the repositioning of your stretched belly muscles (aka Rectus Diastasis).  From pregnancy and weight gain, the core muscles can become stretched, leading to lower back pain and a poochy belly appearance. By putting these core muscles back into their correct position, you can restore core strength and a better body contour.  And the best part: it lasts forever! 

What is rectus diastasis?

Rectus diastasis is a condition that occurs when the rectus abdominis muscles, which are the two vertical muscles that run down the center of your abdomen, separate from the midline. This can happen during pregnancy, as the growing baby puts pressure on the muscles. It can also occur due to weight fluctuations or other conditions.

What are the symptoms of rectus diastasis?

The most common symptom of rectus diastasis is a bulge or “pooch” in the upper and/or lower belly. Other symptoms may include:

  • Weakness in the core muscles
  • Back pain
  • Incontinence

How is rectus diastasis diagnosed?

We diagnose a rectus diastasis by performing a physical exam. Specifically, we will feel the abdomen with you in a lying position and with your legs lifted off the ground against resistance.  We then measure the distance between the two rectus abdominis muscles in finger breadths with your core muscles engaged.  More than two finger breadths may require surgical correction. 

How is rectus diastasis treated?

Although there is only one definitive way to treat rectus diastasis, non-surgical options can help. Some may be able to improve their symptoms with exercises that strengthen the core muscles and the pelvic floor. However, if the separation is moderate to severe, surgical correction is the only effective answer.

How is rectus diastasis repaired during a tummy tuck?

During a tummy tuck, I separate your skin and soft tissue from the underlying muscles. Once I am able to visualize the rectus abdominis muscle separation, we bring it back to the midline with suturing techniques.

What are the benefits of rectus diastasis repair?

The benefits of rectus diastasis repair include:

  • A flatter, more toned abdomen
  • Improved core strength
  • Reduced back pain
  • Reduced incontinence

Some additional benefits of rectus diastasis repair include:

  • It can help to improve posture.
  • It can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
  • It can help to give you a more defined waistline.

If you are considering rectus diastasis repair, be sure to schedule an appointment with our office to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure.

Here are the rectus diastasis repair need-to-know bullet points:

  • Rectus diastasis is a condition that occurs when the rectus abdominis muscles separate during pregnancy, with weight fluctuations, or with other conditions.
  • The most common symptom is a bulge or “pooch” in the abdomen.
  • Exercise can help, but surgical correction is the definitive treatment 
  • Rectus diastasis repair will improve the appearance of the belly, aka abdomen, and may improve core strength.