59 Year Old Male - Do I Need Surgery to Remove Diastasis Recti in Order to Lift Weights?

I am a 59 yr. old male with at least a 6 inch diastasis recti running vertically down my abs. I love lifting weights and exercising. Do I need to get this recti fixed before it could cause a hernia or become a hernina. One doctor told me that just repairing it would only be temporary until I sarted to work out again and I could tear it loose again. Another doctor said that is not true. You get it fixed and it will not tear loose when lifting weights. Who is right?

Doctor Answers 16

Rectus muscle separation and weight lifting

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I agree with the other Doctors answers, however, you can test the integrity of your muscle wall by the following; lie on your back, bend your knees with feet on the floor, lift head and shoulders off the floor (do a sit up).  If you have a flat abdomen, the supporting fascial layer is intact.  If you have a large outward bulge, you should see a doctor regarding a possible hernia.  The muscle separation and extra loose skin are repaired at the same time a tummy tuck is done.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Diastasis recti and weight lifting

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A six inch diastasis recti is huge, and usually indicates the patient has had massive weight loss.  More often than not with a large diastasis recti such as that, there are ventral hernias or significant weakness of the abdominal wall that could theoretically limit strenuous exercise.

I would definitely consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to sort out what is going on and what the recommended exercises restrictions would be for you.

As always, a thorough history and physical examination possibly with a stress test are indicated before starting strenuous exercise at your age.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

59 Year Old Male - Do I Need Surgery to Remove Diastasis Recti in Order to Lift Weights?

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Thank you for your questions.  The first step would be to correctly diagnose the bulge as either a rectus diastasis or a hernia.  A large diastasis may make it a bit more difficult to generate intraabdominal pressure to be able to lift heavy weights, but by itself, should not prevent you from lifting weights and exercising.  If it is a hernia, this will limit your ability to work out and can even cause you low back pain.  Repair of a diastasis is considered cosmetic by insurance companies, while most hernia repairs are covered.  Should you wish to have this fixed through a male tummy tuck, you would need to scale back your workouts until you are fully healed, but you should be able to resume all your prior activities, without risk of tearing the repair, at 3-4 months.  Hope this helps. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

59 Year Old Male - Do I Need Surgery to Remove Diastasis Recti in Order to Lift Weights?

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I cannot say Ive actually ever heard of a physician telling their patient that repairing a Diastasis isnt necessary in somebody who works out because of recurrence.  A 6cm defect is pretty large and only contributes to a core weakness when trying to use your abdominal muscles.  I would highly suggest you get these repairs using a permanent suture. Good Luck.

Diastasis repair in males

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It is possible that a diastasis repair could tear, but that is very unusual.  Typically you should be able to resume full exercise following a tummy tuck.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Repair of Diastasis Recti?

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Thank you for the question.

I do not think that repair of the diastasis recti  will necessarily prevent the occurrence of herniation. Therefore repair of the muscle separation is purely elective and may improve the contour of the abdomen.

After the repair/tummy  it will be necessary to abstain from heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks  after surgery.

Please make sure you are consulting with  experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.

I hope this helps.

Rectus plication and working out

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A great majority of my patients work out after I do their tummy tucks with muscle plication.  With a properly healed plication and tight closure, as would be done in your case, the muscles would not pull apart as long as you wait long enough for it to heal.

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Fixing a diastasis recti in men.

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One common component of abdominoplasty surgery is the suturing of the fashion overlying the abdominal muscles and the correction of the separation of these muscles known as a diastasis. In our practice, we have performed this surgery as well as the correction of the diastasis in both women and men. After the surgery, patients should be aware of the significant recovery process. We typically recommend that patients begin their return to activity slowly to not overextend themselves or damage this repair. We commonly recommend that our patients can return to the gym and lift weights approximately 8 weeks after surgery. However, your best bet is to only work with a plastic surgeon board-certified by the American Board of plastic surgery and who has a great deal of experience in abdominoplasty in both men and women. They will be able to evaluate your abdomen and determine exactly what combination of procedures will help you meet your aesthetic goals. If you have a very large diastasis or possibly a hernia in this location, they may recommend a hernia repair at the same time and this may need to be done with another specialist such as a general surgeon.

A rectus diastasis is not considered a medical necessary condition

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A rectus diastasis is not considered a medical necessary condition. That having been said, some consider it to contribute to lower back pain. When exercising you shoul consider muscle toning using a core strengtheining technique.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Diastasis and weight lifting

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Just because you have a diastasis does not mean that you can not work out. If you want the diastastis repaired and allow it to heal properly for 6-8 weeks, you should be okay to return to work outs.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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.