Diastasis Recti Repair

Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD

Details

Diastasis Recti occurs when the abdominal rectus muscles stretch and widen.  Causes can include childbirth, several pregnancies, obesity, or improper workout exercises. The strain on the tummy muscles can result in the deterioration of the strength of the abdominal wall.  As the core is weakened, it can result in back pain and even a hernia. The latter is when the intestines protrude through the widened space between the muscles. Diastasis recti are more common in women than men.

The repair procedure is sometimes performed together with a tummy  tuck. A tummy tuck will include the removal of excess fat and skin. At the same time, the diastasis recti repair will pull back the muscles and align them to the middle. The results of the repair surgery largely depend on the strength and resistance of the abdominal tissues. 

It is possible to strengthen the muscles through specific stretches and workouts. The proper exercises can improve posture and mobility and, over time, encourage the tissues to move back towards each other.

Equipment such as support belts and waist trainers can also hold the muscles and pull them together. These are only temporary solutions, however.

Women who opt for the surgery should wait until a year after the symptoms develop to fully recover the body and muscles. In the meantime, they can work on exercises to strengthen their core before the surgery.

The surgical procedure takes around 3 hours. The operation requires general anesthetic. The surgeon will first make an incision in the lower abdomen. They suture the two muscles back together before pulling the abdominal skin and stitching up the site. Patients will experience swelling and need to wear a binder to secure the area. Doctors recommend avoiding strenuous exercise or any stretching for at least three months as it could open the wound or impact the repair. The total recovery of the procedure can take up to a year.
Anesthesia
general
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
0-1 day
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
3 months
Invasiveness
yes

Diastasis Recti Exercises - From a doctor of physical therapy

Jared Beckstrand, a physiotherapist, runs through what causes Diastasis Recti. He explains how our anatomy and lifestyle contribute to the causes of this problem. He and his wife demonstrate exercises that help to heal and correct the problem.

Diastasis Recti, What is it? How to Fix it- Science Based

Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck, physical therapists with over 50 years of experience in the field, talk about diastasis recti. They explain how it is caused and what needs to be done to fix it. They run through some exercise routines that can help heal and strengthen the area.