Diastasis Rectal Surgery: Preparation, Recovery


Surgery to remove the diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles removes the stratification of the abdominal muscles, which can occur due to pregnancy, but also occurs in other people. This can be an open or laparoscopic procedure and can include a tummy tuck. Usually this is the same day surgery, but recovery takes two to four weeks .

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What is diastasis rectal surgery?

Rectum diastasis is a physical condition that describes a tear in the center of the abdomen. Separation of the abdomen expands the torso and usually occurs late in pregnancy . It is also seen in newborns and the elderly, regardless of sex .

In adults, a separation between the abdominal muscles of two fingers or more is considered diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles. Diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles can increase the risk of hernia , urinary incontinence, and low back pain. Many patients receive many benefits after surgery to correct diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles.

Rectum diastasis can heal on its own or improve with specific exercise. However, if the problem persists, you may be able to resolve it surgically. Surgeons can close the gap and repair the muscle as a stand-alone procedure or as part of a tummy tuck.

This is what you need to know if you are planning a diastasis rectus abdominis operation.


If you are breastfeeding, most surgeons advise you to wait a couple of months after weaning your baby before having surgery for diastasis recti muscles. If you plan to get pregnant again, it is best to wait until you have run out of children for the procedure. …

Most surgeons recommend waiting at least six to nine months after delivery before undergoing surgery to restore diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles. Your body needs enough time to recover from childbirth and for hormone levels to return to their initial levels.

Potential risks

The potential risks of diastasis rectus abdominis surgery are greater depending on the amount of work you do. For example, laparoscopic surgery is less invasive than a full tummy tuck. Many of the risks are common to other types of surgery, including:

  • Infection at the incision site that can spread throughout the body.
  • Persistent numbness or pain
  • Skin loss
  • Swelling that does not go away over time.
  • Uneven or asymmetric results

Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to reduce the risk of complications. An experienced surgeon should share photos of real patients before and after surgery to give you realistic views before surgery.

Purpose of the rectal diastasis procedure

Diastasis rectus abdominis surgery is rarely covered by insurance, as it is primarily considered a routine procedure. However, many patients report less back pain and urinary incontinence after a tummy tuck, indicating functional benefits beyond cosmetic changes .

Hernias are common with the diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles, so correcting the separation of the abdomen solves the problem and makes it easier to maintain an active lifestyle.

Less invasive treatments include body contouring treatments and specific core strengthening exercises. An alternative to a full tummy tuck may be body shaping procedures such as liposuction.

While body sculpting can reduce excess belly fat, it will not correct split muscles or remove excess skin. Many surgeons report that surgery is the only way to correct the diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles .

To qualify, surgery candidates must undergo a preoperative physical examination to ensure good health for healing and recovery. If you don't smoke and keep your chronic health conditions (like diabetes) under control, you'll be in the best position for a successful procedure.

How to prepare

This is what you need to do to prepare for diastasis rectal surgery.


Your surgeon will order a diastasis rectus abdominis operation at a board certified outpatient surgical center. For older patients, newborns, or people with more complex medical problems, an inpatient procedure in a hospital may be required.

What to wear

Wear loose, comfortable clothing that can be changed easily. Better to choose a top that opens easily at the front, rather than throwing something over your head.

Choose a hoodie or button-down shirt, slip-on shoes, and comfortable drawstring pants. Choose items that are easy to wash and are not afraid of staining, as drains after surgery can leave marks on clothing.

Food and drink

For patients undergoing surgery under general anesthesia, it is extremely important to follow the physician's instructions for preoperative fasting. In general, adults should avoid eating at least eight hours before the scheduled arrival time for surgery. You may be allowed to drink clear liquids two hours before your doctor's appointment.


Your healthcare provider will recommend that you stop taking certain medications before surgery, especially those that increase your risk of bleeding, such as aspirin. You should avoid over-the-counter medications or supplements to prevent potential problems.

Tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking before surgery to reduce the risk of dangerous complications.

What Brig

Someone will need to drive you home after surgery. Along with the support specialist, please bring your ID, insurance information, and any last minute paperwork on the day of your surgery. It will not be long before you return home, so do not bring valuables or cash for the operation.

Lifestyle changes before surgery

Approaching your ideal weight with a healthy diet and physical activity will help you prepare for diastasis rectal surgery, especially if you are also planning a tummy tuck. By avoiding weight fluctuations after surgery, you can prevent the skin from stretching again after the procedure.

In some cases, routine exercises, such as sit-ups, can increase pressure on the abdomen and make existing diastasis worse. However, some exercise programs clearly target the diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles. You can also find a physical therapist in your area who specializes in treating diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles.

What to Expect the Day of Surgery

When it comes time for diastasis rectal surgery, this is how you can expect the day to unfold.

Before the surgery

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to follow the night before and the morning of your surgery. These may include washing the body with antibacterial soap to reduce the risk of infection. Follow the instructions carefully and plan to get to the surgical center on time.

When you arrive for your surgery, you will be given a hospital gown to change and your surgeon's assistant or nurse will monitor your vital signs. If you have unusual symptoms, such as fever, on the day of your surgery, be sure to share this information with your doctor.

If possible, it is best to ask questions in the days and weeks leading up to surgery so that you feel confident when it comes time for the procedure. On the day of surgery, you only have a few minutes to speak with the surgeon before it begins.

Most surgeons prefer to place patients under general anesthesia for diastasis surgery of the rectus abdominis muscles. An anesthesiologist will visit and review the plan with you and ask you to sign a disclaimer prior to your surgery. Once this is done, the anesthesiologist will admit you to the hospital and the surgery will begin.

During the operation

Your surgeon will perform diastasis rectus abdominis surgery, either as an open procedure or laparoscopically. If the surgery involves a tummy tuck (or mini tummy tuck), it will begin with a horizontal incision between the pubic bone and the belly button.

After lifting the skin, the surgeon applies sutures to reconnect the abdominal muscles and secure their new position. If you have a hernia , your surgeon will also correct it during the procedure.

After completing the repair work, your surgeon will trim the excess skin and remove the remaining skin for suturing. Your surgeon will create a new belly button and close the wound with glue, clips, tape, and other stitches. With a mini tummy tuck, the surgeon only lifts the skin below the belly button.

Some patients will also undergo liposuction to remove abdominal fat as part of a tummy tuck procedure . Your surgeon should review the exact sequence and methods planned for your surgery prior to the day of surgery.

For those who have had laparoscopic rectus abdominis diastasis surgery, three to four small keyhole-shaped incisions will be made to perform the operation. Laparoscopic procedures are less invasive, although the major muscles will still take a long time to heal.

Surgical instruments are inserted through the holes along with a laparoscope (a narrow shaft with a flashlight and a tiny camera). The observer plans the operation so that the surgeon can refer to it in the process.

After the operation

Although this is an invasive surgery, you should be able to go home a few hours after surgery. High-risk patients may need to be transferred to the hospital to monitor complications. Be sure to make arrangements in advance for a ride home and to have someone help you care for you after your procedure.

In addition to bandaging your wounds, your healthcare provider will send you home with a drain to allow excess fluid to drain early in the healing process. Follow your healthcare professional's instructions for keeping your drainage channels clean. Your surgeon will provide you with compression garments to support and reduce swelling.

Since you return to your doctor shortly after your procedure (often the next day), you will likely be the first to remove your compression garments and check on your recovery. You may need help at home to change into and remove your compression garments for the first week or so to come.


Most people can return to work within two to four weeks after diastasis rectal surgery. For the first month after the procedure, refrain from working hard. If you have young children at home, make sure you have extra help. Tightening too soon after your procedure can harm your results.


Expect some swelling after surgery, as well as slight fluctuations in weight as your body retains fluid as it heals. Don't be too quick to judge your results until you have enough time to get past the initial stages of recovery .

Surgery for diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles directly affects the muscles, so muscle pain is normal. For a week or so after your procedure, your abdomen may feel tight, especially if your skin has also tightened. Many patients report temporary difficulty standing up and pain when coughing or laughing.

Your top priority for early healing should be to prevent muscle tension and infection at the incision sites. Keep dressings clean and dry according to your healthcare professional's instructions.

Bathing and swimming are prohibited unless your surgeon decides otherwise. If you have a tummy tuck as part of diastasis rectal surgery, you will have a significant scar that will take time to heal before you can submerge yourself in the water . Not being patient with the time it takes to heal can set you back, jeopardize your results, or put you at risk for a life-threatening infection .

How to deal with your recovery

Take pain relievers as directed by your doctor to avoid unnecessary discomfort as your body begins to heal. Rest is essential for recovery, so plan to go to bed early and take time to relax at home.

For the first week after surgery, walking around the house will help maintain blood flow and promote healing. Tedious exercise should be avoided, so now is a good time to review old photos and documents, chat with friends and family on the phone, and watch your favorite TV shows.

Put aside light projects to keep yourself busy and avoid the temptation to physically strain yourself before your body is ready. Share your transaction with a few people you trust so they can help you with household chores like shopping and laundry.

Possible future operations

Even the best surgeons sometimes get suboptimal results. If, after several months of healing, you are not satisfied with the outcome of your diastasis rectum or tummy tuck, your doctor may recommend a review.

As a general rule, the results of surgical treatment of diastasis recti abdominis muscles are irreversible. After the procedure, the abdominals must remain in the correct position and the space must not return.

Lifestyle adjustments

Maintaining a stable weight after surgery will help you maintain the results of your diastasis rectal surgery. Significant weight gain or subsequent pregnancies can negatively affect your surgeon's success during surgery.

A healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced and nutritious diet and regular physical activity will allow you to benefit from your surgery in the long term. If you have had a tummy tuck, avoid sunburn on the scar to make it go away.

Get the word of drug information

In addition to improving your self-esteem, diastasis rectal surgery can support your core strength and address issues such as urinary incontinence and hernia. However, rectus abdominis diastasis surgery is an invasive procedure with serious potential risks. Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon and consider whether surgery is right for you.

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