Pregnancy, significant fluctuations in weight, and certain injuries can sometimes cause the muscles of the abdomen to separate, leading to a condition known as diastasis recti. Individuals with diastasis recti may experience a bulge along the midline of their abdomen, as well as weakened core strength and other health complications. Here in this article, i shall be talking about rectus diastasis repair surgery.
A rectus diastasis repair is a reconstructive procedure that draws the separated abdominal muscles back together with permanent sutures. Don’t miss reading how to tell if you’ll need diastasis recti surgery.
Many patients find that rectus diastasis repair boosts their confidence and improves their self-image by allowing them to regain a more contoured silhouette. In addition, rectus diastasis surgery can often reduce or eliminate the medical complications that come with diastasis recti.
What does rectus diastasis repair surgery do?
The rectus abdominis muscles are two muscles that run vertically along either side of a person’s abdomen. They are held together with connective tissue known as the linea alba. Significant weight gain and pregnancy can cause the linea alba to stretch until it is damaged or torn.
Once the linea alba is torn, it cannot be repaired through exercise or dieting because it is made mostly of collagen, rather than muscle. Instead, a visible bulge may remain along the midline of the abdomen.
Because separated abdominal muscles cannot be repaired through the patient’s own actions, diastasis recti can have a negative impact on a person’s mental well-being, causing emotional frustration and a loss of confidence.
Separated abdominal muscles can also lead to the following medical complications:
● Back pain
● Urinary incontinence
● Painful intercourse for women
● Poor posture
● Functional instability
Rectus diastasis repair
A rectus diastasis repair helps to correct these issues by repairing the damaged abdominal muscles.
During the surgery, an incision is made between the belly button and pubic bone in order to access the abdominal wall. If needed, the plastic surgeon may also make a second small incision around the belly button so that it can be repositioned. The separated abdominal muscles are then brought back together with permanent internal sutures.
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When should you look into getting rectus diastasis repair surgery?
For people whose abdominal muscles have separated as a result of pregnancy or significant weight gain, rectus diastasis repair can offer an effective solution to support long-term health and restore a youthful silhouette .
It is possible to have separated abdominal muscles and not even realize it. Symptoms include:
● The patient feeling like they still look a little pregnant
● The patient experiencing continuous lower back pain
● The patient being able to notice a ridge down their midline while doing a plank
Rectus diastasis repair often serves as a permanent solution to abdominal separation. However, the effects achieved by the surgery may be undone if the original causes of the separation recur.
For this reason, patients who experienced abdominal separation during pregnancy will usually want to wait until they are done having children before having a rectus diastasis repair. Otherwise, it is possible that pregnancy will once again damage the linea alba that connects the rectus abdominis muscles.
In addition, patients should aim to allow their bodies the appropriate amount of post-pregnancy healing time before having the surgery. This usually means waiting until they are six months postpartum, but patients can begin planning their procedure in consultation with a plastic surgeon as soon as they feel ready to do so.
For patients seeking a rectus diastasis surgery to repair abdominal muscles that separated due to significant weight gain, it is recommended to be at a stable and healthy target weight prior to having the surgery. The surgery can support the results of weight loss, but a large fluctuation in weight could cause the abdominal muscles to separate again.
How is rectus diastasis repair different from a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess tissue from the abdomen in order to create a more toned and sculpted appearance.
Since both a tummy tuck and rectus diastasis repair involve similar incisions and operate on the same area, the two procedures are frequently combined. The surgeries differ, though, in that a tummy tuck also involves:
● Removal of excess fat through liposuction
● Trimming and contouring of drooping skin
Patients who experience stubborn pockets of fat or excess skin below the navel may find that they prefer the results of a full tummy tuck in addition to rectus diastasis repair. However, this will depend on your individual circumstances and goals, and you should consult with an experienced plastic surgeon about the best options available to you.
Rectus diastasis repair surgery recovery process
After a rectus diastasis repair, it is important to follow your surgeon’s post-surgical instructions in order to maintain your results and ensure the fastest possible recovery.
Although every body is different, it is generally recommended to wait eight to ten days to return to work or other strenuous activities. Post-surgical swelling lessens significantly after six weeks, and at this point, many patients can begin to exercise again in a manner that is more strenuous than walking.
Most patients are fully healed within four to six weeks.
Maintenance is essential to ensure permanent results from a rectus diastasis surgery. This includes following post-operative protocols, such as wound care and temporary activity restrictions, as recommended by your plastic surgeon.
Maintaining a stable weight is also important to prevent muscles from separating again after repair.
When patients do return to regular exercise and lifting, it is essential that they maintain proper form. A strong core and pelvic floor is crucial to prevent further muscle injuries and abdominal separation.
Alternatives to surgery
The likelihood of experiencing abdominal muscle separation in pregnancy can be reduced by an early adoption of exercises that strengthen the core and pelvic floor.
In some patients, physical therapy and the use of a brace around the abdomen can reduce some of the symptoms of abdominal separation, but separated rectus abdominis muscles cannot be fully repaired through exercise or dieting. Therefore, for many patients, surgery remains the most effective option for repair.
If you have questions about whether or not you are a good candidate for rectus diastasis surgery, a board-certified plastic surgeon can help you explore your options. Together, you can take a collaborative approach to finding a solution that works for you.