What Can I Expect From Diastasis Recti Repair Surgery as a Male Bodybuilder?

28 year old male bodybuilder diagnosed with a diastasis recti (1/2 - 1 inch) with no hernia. Maintain an 8% or less BF level 0 excess fat, and I know without your examination you cant tell me much but I had a few questions. How large of a scar would I be left with and where? What is the recovery time before one can lift heavy weight again (squats etc)? Once fully healed would I be able to train abs / core in the future? Will abdominals appear normal at low bf for a bodybuilding show? Thanks

Doctor Answers 6

Exercise after tummy tuck

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I generally recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity (no exercise) for 4 to 6 weeks after tummy tuck. After six weeks, I encourage patients to slowly resume exercise routines *gradually*. Remember, during the six week postoperative period - you will be deconditioned. I do prepare patients do notice some increased swelling once exercise is resumed. Over the next several weeks, this post-exercise edema will no longer manifest. Exercise itself will not help reduce this swelling.  If swelling manifests during your workout routine, you may benefit from use of compression garments.   But please check with your surgeon with respect to his/her specific recommendations.  Enjoy your results!

Dr. Basu

Diastasis recti repair in a bodybuilder

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A "diastasis" of 1/2 - 1 inch without other history of obesity and weight loss (or pregnancy, as in women, which can cause widening of the midline) is normal, as you can see in many photos of competitive male bodybuilders.  The range of normal is broad, as is the variation in the shape of the abdominal muscles.  Surgery to correct this would potentially alter the appearance of your abdominal musculature, making it look abnormal due to narrowing or obliteration of the midline.  I have treated female bodybuilders who have required narrowing of a wide midline after child-bearing, but this would be highly unusual in a male.  I have also seen a woman bodybuilder, who had a "regular" tummy-tuck by a surgeon who did not attend to the woman's bodybuilding activities, and the result was disastrous for her.  


Without seeing photos of your abdomen, it's hard to say definitively how normal or abnormal your situation is, but as a former bodybuilding competitor and current judge, I would approach any change in your musculature with great caution.

Diastasis recti repair

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Repair of the rectus muscle in your case would be unusal and generally not necessary even when male tummy tuck is done unless the patient has had significant weight loss.  Seek a second opinion.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Diastasis recti in a young male bodybuilder?

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A separation in the rectus muscles of 1/2 inch in a male is not considered a diastasis.  There is a natural separation in the muscles that needs to be present to give the "six pack" appearance.  From your description, I would not recommend surgery for you. 

Diastasis Recti Not Likely in Male Bodybuilder

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Although I cannot state this with certainty and without a physical examination, I seriously doubt that you have a true diastasis recti.  More likely, you have very well-defined rectus muscles giving you the illusion that you have a diastasis.  At any rate, I would not advise you to undergo a repair as I think you will be most unhappy if you do.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Diastasis recti

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I think the question is do you really need this fixed? How does your abdomen look now? Diastasis recti is not a hernia so it won't hurt you, but some patients do have pain at times. To fix it you need a maybe 6 inch incision low above the pubic area, it could also be done via a 2 inch incison near your belly button with endoscopic equipment. No heavy workouts for 2 months and nothing but light bike cardio until 6 weeks. It will possibly blunt the definition you have on the middle/center abdominal area but otherwise little change. Again not sure that you even need this done unless it's causing you problems now. Hope that helps, Dr Kerr

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.