Full TT W/ Diastasis Repair: Do Your Muscles "Work" Properly Again Afterwards?

I'm 34 y.o. & am experiencing lower back pain/pulled chest muscles as a result of diastasis caused by my 2nd pregnancy. I'm having a full TT with diastasis repair (& umbilical hernia repair) on 3/6 to resolve the problem. Can I expect that my ab muscles will work normally again afterwards? Will I have a strong core to support my lower back, so that my chest muscles won't need to compensate? Will I be able to go back to regular ab exercises? In time & w/ exercise, can I get a 6pack again?

Doctor Answers 2

Your abdominal muscles are fully functional after tummy tuck with muscle sheath plication!

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The diastasis repair is plication (folding and suture fixation) of the fascial sheath around your rectus abdominis muscles. The rest of the tummy tuck procedure is removal of the loose skin between the umbilicus and pubis and stretching the remainder of the upper abdominal skin to cover the entire abdomen (requiring a new opening for your umbilicus, which stays right where God and your mother put it)! Flatter tummy, tighter skin, muscles back together in the midline! You go, girl!

Careful suturing of the rectus sheath (which also repairs the umbilical or any other midline hernia) allows full function of your rectus muscles, as well as the rest of your "core" muscles. How well they function together will be a result of your own exercise program, and visibility of your "6-pack" will depend on weight loss and the residual thickness of your abdominal fatty layer.

Lower back pain may not be entirely due to your diastasis, nor should you expect that your chest muscles will return to "normal" solely as a result of a tummy tuck. Please don't have unrealistic expectations, as a tummy tuck tightens the abdominal wall and removes excess skin and fat, but cannot be expected to "cure" lower back pain or chest discomfort entirely. Help, yes; resolve or "fix," no. Best wishes!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Muscle diastasis repair during a tummy tuck will eventually allow you to do any and all core exercises once healing is complete

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In diastasis repair during a tummy tuck, the stretched-out rectus abdominis muscles are tightened.  The anatomy of the muscles still stay the same in that the muscles are not cut or repositioned in an abnormal way.  The muscles should still work the way they were intended to after the healing is complete.  But, ask your plastic surgeon when you can start working out your cores and build the strength of your abdominal wall after the tummy tuck.  I generally allow for 3 months of healing before I tell my patients that they can work out their core muscles.

Richard H. Lee, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 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.