Is Tummy Tuck a Good Solution for Diastasis Recti?

I am a 30-year-old male with a slight (1-2 finger size) diastasis recti. My doctor states this is no need for concern but being a therapist I am worried about its long term effects on my lower back, increased potential for umbilical hernias and overall core strength and stability. I have read that this should be surgically repaired. Is this true? If so, what procedure is recommended? Is Tummy Tuck a good solution? What would the recovery time be?

Doctor Answers 15

Tummy tuck for you?

If you had massive weight loss and need skin excised along with a muscle repair, a tummy tuck is indicated. If you don't have skin excess, a limited incision or endoscopic muscle repair can be done.

Generally though, most patients with what you describe would just exercise and avoid surgery. Having a rectus diastasis doesn't make you a ticking time bomb for back problems, umbilical hernias or core instability long term.

Repair of Diastasis Recti?

Thank you for the question.

Based on your description (and without the benefit of examining  you in person)  I would not suggest surgery for the the diastasis recti  if you're otherwise satisfied with the appearance of your abdomen. There is no study to show that this repair will prevent any problems in the future.

If you're still concerned you may want to visit with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Small diastasis

A 1-2 finger breadth diastasis is within normal limits and would not be an indication for abdominoplasty. Unless you have other concerns, such as love handles or skin laxity which you would like a plastic surgeon to address, surgery would not be necessary.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

A tummy tuck is for removal of fat and skin

All males have some 'diastasis recti'. Unless you get very fat, it won't separate more than about 2 cm (normal). When I do a female tummy tuck, I always narrow the diastasis, which has usually been stretched by pregnancy. Not a male problem unless you have been obese. If you've been thin, stick with exercise to maintain your 'core balance'.

G. Gregory Gallico III, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Sounds like you don't need surgery

You sound very knowledgeable about rectus diastasis. And my impression of you is that you're probably in good physical shape. If this is true there's no need to repair the diastasis. If the strength of the muscles is good repair of the diastasis won't do anything for you. Normal width between the muscles can be up to 1.5cm. If you are having problems with pseudoherniation than that would also be an indication to fix the problem.

Just because you can fix something, it doesn't mean you should.

It is not likely that this diastasis will amount to much. Of course, if you have multiple pregnancies this can become considerably worse. Barring that, there is no guarantee that repairing a diastasis will necessarily prevent back pain or umbilical hernias.

I would advise that you contemplate core strengthening excercises to enhance your abdominal wall function and aesthetics.

Of course if you decide to proceded, there are methods of repairing the diastasis firberoptically or endoscopically without performing a tummy tuck.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Is Tummy Tuck a Good Solution for Diastasis Recti?

Thank you for your excellent question, and I can understand your concern.  A tummy tuck is the preferred method of diastasis repair when patients are also suffering from excess, loose skin of the abdomen.  If the diastasis is an isolated issue, I would not recommend incurring the scar from a tummy tuck for this repair.  Appropriate diet and exercise to strengthen your core will help minimize the diastasis, and will not predispose you to the development of a hernia or other abdominal issue.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

TT for diastasis?

Consider removal of skin to tighten area. If you have lower belly looseness or diastasis then you could get a tummy tuck where the fascia is tightened. If fascia is not loose then lipo. good luck!

Tummy tuck for male diastasis recti.

Abdominoplasty, (tummy tuck), is a great solution for extra skin on the abdomen.  At the time one can plicate, (put back together), the separated rectus muscles.  If you don't have a primary indication for the abdominoplasty, most would not repair the diasasis unless symptomatic.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Treatment of Diastasis Rectii

A tummy tuck (AKA abdominoplasty) is often combined with treatment of diastasis rectii. However, the treatment of diastasis rectii is in fact, repair of diastasis rectii.

Repairing a diastasis is not mandatory, but will improve the appearance of the abdomen.

Diastasis rectii does not cause the development of an umbilical hernia.

Furthermore, I am not aware of any studies correlating a diastasis rectii with lower back problems, or problems with stability & core strength.

If you are bothered by your diastasis, then you may consider a repair of the diastasis.

We perform this procedure laparoscopically with very small incisions and use a pain pump after surgery to make the recovery more comfortable.

If you have a significant amount of excess skin, you can undergo a tummy tuck as well to address the skin excess probe.

The recovery time from this procedure is similar to having a hernia repair. The first day is generally the worst followed by rapid improvement over the course of the first three days. Subsequently, there is discomfort when moving around, but not when laying still.

Patients must not do any lifting and must not get constipated during the first 6 weeks after surgery. In our offices we use a compression garment after surgery to prevent fluid accumulation under the skin.

The most important step you can take is picking a qualified, board certified plastic surgeon to examine you and help answer all your questions.

Good luck with your research.

A. Peter Salas, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.