Rectus Diastasis Repair
Rectus diastasis (also known as diastasis recti or abdominal muscle separation) can cause unsightly bulges that cannot be fixed with diet and exercise. Surgery can help patients regain a contoured silhouette and abdominal strength.
What is a Rectus Diastasis Repair?
Diastasis recti—or abdominal muscle separation—can be caused by many factors. It occurs mainly in women as a result of pregnancy and results in a protruding bulge of tissue down the abdomen midline that cannot be reversed by diet and exercise.
Rectus diastasis can cause emotional frustration and a lack of confidence. Its physical effects can include:
- Back pain
- Urinary incontinence
- Painful intercourse for women
- Functional instability
Harvard fellowship–educated, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Y. Maman uses cutting-edge techniques to offer the latest in rectus diastasis repair and patient care.
How It Works
The muscles of the abdomen create a supportive wall that:
- Protects the internal organs
- Stabilizes the spine
- Allows for safe and balanced movement
This abdominal muscle complex is strong, but it is not indestructible. Pregnancy and major weight gain can stretch the abdominal wall muscles until the linea alba, a connective tissue that holds your vertical stomach muscles together, is damaged or torn.
Because the linea alba is a fibrous tissue made mostly of collagen, it does not rebuild during the healing process as muscles do. Once past a certain point, it can only be repaired by a skilled surgeon.
Rectus Diastasis & Pregnancy
Unsurprisingly, two-thirds of pregnant women experience diastasis recti after childbirth. Half of these women still have it more than twelve months postpartum. While more common after age 35 in women who have been pregnant more than once (or have carried multiples), diastasis recti can occur in anyone who has been pregnant.
It is possible to have diastasis recti and not even know it. Symptoms include:
- Feeling like you still look a little pregnant
- Seeing a ridge down your midline while doing a plank
- Experiencing constant lower back pain
Rectus diastasis repair can reverse these changes, alleviating physical discomfort and restoring the pre-pregnancy silhouette.
Diastasis Recti Repair vs. Tummy Tuck
Although patients who have good skin elasticity and do not have excess abdominal skin may be able to undergo a rectus diastasis repair on its own, this procedure is often combined with a tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty).
Both surgeries begin with a horizontal incision between the belly button and pubic bone—and sometimes another around the belly button—to allow access to the abdominal wall. Both surgeries close separated stomach muscles using permanent, internal sutures.
The difference between the two surgeries is in how they are finished. When repairing diastasis recti in surgery, your abdominal skin is pulled back down to your pubic area and reattached with temporary sutures. In a tummy tuck, internal fat is removed via liposuction and loose skin is trimmed and contoured before the surgeon sutures the site closed.
Since the two procedures have similar surgical guideposts, incision size/length, and recovery difficulty/timeline, most patients choose the aesthetic benefits of a full tummy tuck over just a diastasis recti repair.
The first step is a thorough, collaborative consultation. Before surgery, we provide:
- 60- to 90-minute in-depth initial consultations with a complete medical history review and physical assessment by Dr. Maman
- Multiple pre-op visits to answer all your questions
- Specialized surgery coordinators to help you navigate scheduling, financial, and insurance processes
Once you have decided to move forward with surgery, we emphasize convenience, comfort, and a smooth recovery. This includes:
- Convenient NYC operating facilities
- Luxury recovery room options at NYC hotels
- Attentive and routine aftercare visits
Personalized, Holistic Patient-Centered Approach
Understanding each patient’s personal and clinical needs is central to our practice. We customize treatment plans for each patient, and each patient receives Dr. Maman’s personal contact information along with direct round-the-clock access to our nurse and surgical coordinator.
Results and Recovery
We take every measure to provide the highest degree of comfort for our patients throughout their rectus diastasis repair.
We believe that all patients should be fully informed. That is why we schedule multiple pre-op appointments, so you know what to expect from your procedure. We stay in close contact during this period and each patient receives prompt and personalized care.
Once surgery is complete, you have the option to recover at home if you are a local, or at one of our luxury recovery rooms at select hotels in New York City. Recovery timelines vary depending on your procedure, but we offer thorough complimentary aftercare to ensure your optimized recovery and results.
The result? Patients that are confident and comfortable with their surgical plan and results.
For more information, read our FAQs below.
See our results. Contact us to find the right approach for you.
“Very professional, caring, and detail-oriented. The results of my surgery are fabulous! I am very happy with the whole experience.”
For more information, read our FAQs below.
It is important to adhere to post-operative protocols in order to maintain the results of a diastasis rectus repair.
Dr. Maman’s post-operative guidelines include wound-care practice and activity restrictions to ensure your body has the time it needs to heal properly. Staying in a stable weight range is also important to prevent muscles from re-stretching after repair.
Lastly, it is essential to make sure exercise and lifting involve proper form. Maintaining your core strength and pelvic floor plays a crucial role in preventing muscle injuries and tears.
Meet Dr. Daniel Y. Maman, Board-Certified NYC Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Maman completed a Harvard fellowship in aesthetic breast surgery as well as a 6-year plastic surgery residency at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He has appeared on The New York Times Top Doctors and Super Doctors in Plastic Surgery lists.
Dr. Maman is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Whether your reasons for a diastasis rectus repair are personal, clinical, or both, it is important to work with an experienced surgeon who is a partner in your care.
Contact us today to request a consultation.
Basic Rectus Diastasis Repair FAQs
Am I a good candidate for a rectus diastasis repair?
Good candidates for a rectus diastasis repair have a diastasis larger than 2 cm and are:
- At a stable weight and generally healthy
- Done having children (if female)
- Committed to a healthy lifestyle that will maintain results
How much do you charge for a rectus diastasis repair?
Our treatment plans are individualized to each patient based on their goals, anatomy, and medical history. Because we customize treatment for each patient, pricing can vary. During your initial consultation, Dr. Maman will conduct a detailed assessment of your goals. Afterward, you will receive an itemized price quote to help you make your decision.
How soon can I have rectus diastasis repair surgery after giving birth?
Pregnancy and childbirth put immense strain on your body, and having a rectus diastasis surgery too soon after giving birth can be dangerous. You should wait at least six months postpartum before having your surgical procedure, but any surgery requires in-depth discussion and planning across several appointments. You can begin planning your surgery as soon as you feel ready to start gathering information and making decisions.
I am not done having children. Should I wait to have a rectus diastasis repair?
Rectus diastasis repair is highly effective in restoring the integrity of damaged abdominal muscles, but future weight gain or pregnancy can compromise, or even reverse, your results.
Because surgery is an investment, we recommend waiting until you are done having children, close to your goal weight, and living a healthy lifestyle before you fix your diastasis recti.
Dr. Maman will work with you to balance your aesthetic and life goals against your medical history to make the decision that works best for you.
How long does a rectus diastasis repair take?
Your time in the operating room will vary based on the complexity of your case and whether you are combining procedures, but a rectus diastasis repair generally takes 2.5–3 hours and is performed under general anesthesia.
Where will my surgery be performed?
Dr. Maman usually performs rectus diastasis surgeries at an in-office, AAAASF-certified facility or an outpatient ambulatory surgery center (ASC). He also has operating privileges at Mount Sinai Hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, and Englewood Hospital. We work with you to select the best facility for your needs.
How can I minimize scarring after my surgery?
Dr. Maman provides you with detailed scar-treatment protocols, medical-grade creams, and tapes that will minimize your scarring. If you need additional scar treatments, we ask that you wait at least six months after surgery and only use modalities approved by Dr. Maman.
How long will my recovery period be?
Diastasis recti repair is an invasive procedure that requires careful adherence to activity restrictions for proper healing. We recommend taking at least eight to ten days before returning to work and other strenuous activities. Swelling in your stomach will lessen dramatically after six weeks, and most patients are fully healed in ten to twelve weeks.
How long do I have to wait after my surgery to work out?
Because abdominal muscles are essential to most forms of exercise, it is important to wait about six weeks before doing any activity more strenuous than walking. Even the stretches in yoga can place too much strain on healing muscles and skin.
Will I need special clothes after my surgery?
We will provide you with custom compression garments to help speed your recovery and reduce your pain. Most patients prefer to wear loose-fitting, soft clothing for the first two weeks.
How long will my diastasis rectus repair last?
A diastasis rectus repair will fix muscle separation, but the procedure can be reversed by significant weight gain or another pregnancy. Maintaining the aesthetic results from your procedure depends largely on maintaining a stable weight with a healthy diet and moderate exercise.
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