Major body changes, such as pregnancy or significant weight loss, can leave a permanent impact. Many patients develop diastasis recti during these times and struggle with a resulting “belly pooch.” Even though it’s a relatively common medical condition, many people are unaware of diastasis recti. They might not even know they have it—let alone know how to address it properly.
Many nonsurgical approaches claim to be able to fix diastasis recti and damaged abdominal muscles. But tummy tuck surgery at our Washington, DC, area practice is one of the quickest, most effective ways to treat this issue.
What is diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti is a condition where the left and right sides of the abdominal wall separate from one another. This gap between muscles creates a protruding bulge, often known as a “pooch.” The condition is caused by long-term pressure on the abdominal wall. This can happen during pregnancy (as the growing baby consistently presses against the muscles) or by other activities that strain the body, such as yo-yo dieting or improper weight lifting.
The most common sign of diastasis recti is the telltale bulge it creates. However, other symptoms include lower back pain, poor posture, and bloating. Around 60% of women experience some level of diastasis recti during or after pregnancy. It is more common among mothers who are over the age of 35 or who have given birth to twins or triplets.
Are there different ways to treat diastasis recti?
Nonsurgical treatments for diastasis recti include gentle strength-building activities such as yoga or physical therapy. Postpartum treatments can include pelvic floor exercises and deep stomach muscle exercises. Ab-focused workouts, such as sit-ups or planks, should be avoided. You don’t want to strain the muscles further while they’re already damaged.
For some patients, diastasis recti will correct itself over time. But if the muscle bands do not contract and naturally repair themselves, then surgery is the most direct solution.
How can a tummy tuck fix diastasis recti?
A tummy tuck fixes diastasis recti by directly repairing the damaged abdominal muscles. During surgery, the doctor stitches the two sides of the muscle wall back together, supporting the abdominals and moving them back to their original position. This removes any protruding muscles and eliminates the appearance of a “belly pooch.”
Tummy tuck surgery also has the added perk of treating other issues caused by pregnancy or weight change. The procedure can remove excess fat and loose, saggy skin. With a full tummy tuck—that repairs diastasis recti and trims loose skin and fat—patients can sculpt their midsection and feel more comfortable and confident.
If you struggle with a belly pooch caused by diastasis recti, don’t worry—you’re not alone. While there are many ways you can fix this common condition, tummy tuck surgery is the most comprehensive way to restore the midsection.
Browse our tummy tuck before-and-after photos to see real patient examples. If you would like to learn more about your best body contouring options from an experienced plastic surgeon in the Washington, DC, area, request a consultation online or call (703) 560-2850 (Annandale, VA) or (301) 652-7700 (Chevy Chase, MD).