It's been 11 months since giving birth to my first child, and though the gap between my abdominal muscles has improved over the months, it's still 2 finger spaces wide (while contracting). My belly balloons outward as soon as I have a small meal. I can actually see when my bowels move by my belly button. I've been doing whatever core exercises I can being that my back is weak and I can't even do a single sit-up anymore. What can I do to fix this? Does insurance cover it?
How Can I Fix my Diastasis Recti?
Doctor Answers (19)
Rectus Diastasis Repair Important with Your Tummy Tuck
Your description and picture strongly suggest you will benefit greatly with an abdominoplasty with repair of rectus diastasis.
Your description and photo also suggest that you may have a hernia. That your belly button "balloons outward" after a small meal is almost certainly a sign of an umbilical hernia. This should be determined as part of your physical examination, and if present, must be noted as part of your treatment plan.
Many plastic surgeons have the training and technical skill to perform the hernia repair. Your surgeon may also choose to involve a General Surgeon, if a complex hernia is present.
The presence of hernia (or even a severe diastasis) may warrant a procedure that involves abdominal wall reconstruction, which would normally be covered by health insurance.
How can I fix my diastasis recti?
Hitting the gym is great. It will get you back in shape. Unfortunately, it won't fix the diastasis recti. If you are done having kids, the treatment is an abdominoplasty, (tummy tuck)., with a placation, (sewing back together), of the rectus muscles. This is the treatment. It is not covered by insurance.
Fixing rectus diastasis
As long as you are done having kids, the only way I know to "fix" a rectus diastasis is with a tummy tuck. Of course the vast majority of women who have had kids have a rectus diastasis and leave it unrepaired, but no exercise will bring the muscles back together. No insurance will ever cover it as it is not medically necessary for your survival.
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Tummy tuck will fix your diastasis recti
Strengthening your core will not improve your diastasis recti - it will only increase the size of your rectus abdominus muscles. The only way to improve the separation between the midline abdominal wall muscles is with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). A series of sutures is placed to bring the muscle back to their normal anatomic location.
Before undergoing a tummy tuck, you should be done having children. Otherwise, future pregnancy puts you at risk for abdominal wall muscle separation yet again.
Hope this helps. Best of luck.
Abdominoplasty involves repair of diastasis recti
Abdomionplasty or tummy tuck is the procedure of choice for repair of diastisis recti. Based on your picture, you look like you would be a great candidate and should have nice results. However, you should be seen in consultation by a board certified plastic surgeon to determine your suitability for surgery. Good luckl.
Tummy tuck improves muscle alignment, can even help back pain
You need a repair of your rectus diastasis, as you already know. My concern is that you may be a little heavy at the moment. You may need to drop 20 pounds or so. Once you do, it will be easier for your surgeon to repair the muscles and correct this anatomic problem. You may also find you are more motivated to get in shape once your tummy is flatter. Most women have liposuction simultaneously. Your belly button should look much better after the muscle repair. Basically it's a realignment - bringing you muscled back together the way they were (or should have been) before pregnancy. I have had many patients whose back pain improved afterward (See CB on my link). Sit-ups are easier. Unfortunately insurance coverage is unlikely.
From your description and picture you have a classic rectus diastasis. Additionally, it sounds like you may have an umbilical hernia. Being board certified in both general surgery and plastic surgery, I have approached your type of case both with and without a general surgeon depending on the size of the hernia. An abdominoplasty would repair the rectus Diastasis and a hernia repair takes care of the umbilical hernia. It also appears that you have lost definition of your umbilicus. Often times this can be re-created at the time of surgery. When I've used a general surgeon, insurance will usually cover their portion of the surgery and even an overnight stay.
Diastasis recti and insurance
IF you have a large diastasis recti and you have loose abdominal skin, you may be a candidate for a tummy tuck, but insurance does not cover it.
Tummy tucks and diastasis
As you already know, plication of the tummy weakness is the favored way of correcting your problem. A word of caution... if your tummy doesn't lay flat when you lay on your back, you will not have a flat tummy after your tuck. If your tissues are thinned (attenuated) from the stretching, your sutures may not hold requiring more surgery to correct. I hope it works out to your satisfaction and that you can get by without additional surgery. By the way, you could have a belly button hernia and you should make sure this is addressed with your surgeon.
Correction of Rectus Diastasis
As long as you are done with having kids, then a tummy tuck may be the procedure for you. A tummy tuck (also called abdominoplasty) is a very popular cosmetic surgery procedure. A tummy tuck can be an effective tool for shaping and sculpting the body for better body appearance and improved self esteem.
Sometimes no amount of diet and exercise can create a flat tummy. Tummy tuck plastic surgery actually tightens abdominal muscles and removes excess fat and skin from the stomach area to create a tighter, slimmer, smoother belly. A tummy tuck can be combined with other procedures such as liposuction of your waists or flanks (i.e. love handles) to fine tune your result
Patients choose abdominoplasty cosmetic surgery for a number of reasons, including:
Excess abdominal skin following weight loss Weight gain (beer belly or spare tire) from a sedentary lifestyle Abdominal fat that is resistant to diet and exercise Stretched stomach muscles from pregnancy Desire for a thinner profile Desire to look younger and fitter Desire to fit into clothes better
I recommend you visit with an ASPS member plastic surgeon to further explore your options and to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure