I'm 57, female. I've had a protruding stomach with pain for years, even after weight loss. Could it be diastatis recti? (Photo)

My current weight is 148 from 179 my waist size is 37 from 44. I exercise regualary but the size is not going down and the pain is that of recovering from surgery which I have not had. I have been told by one dr. that I just have to exercise more and one said that my muscles have separated due to having 4 children but offered no solution except to deal with it. Could this be diastasis recti? Could exercise fix this problem? Do I need to see a specialist or what kind of Dr.?

Doctor Answers 8

Could it be diastasis recti?

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Congratulations on your weight loss.  Sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain.  Unfortunately, in-person examination will be needed to assess and make a proper recommendation.  It is common to have some degree of diastasis recti from pregnancy.  If you have diastasis recti and excess skin/fat, tummy tuck may be a good option for you.  Please visit with a board-certified plastic surgeon to find out about your candidacy for tummy tuck.  Best wishes.

Diastasis Recti

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Congratulations on your weight loss. If you have a Diastasis Recti which is common after childbirth, exercise will not bring the muscles together again and only surgery to correct this will work. Exercise in order to reduce as much excess fat as possible before Tummy Tuck is recommended. I advise you to meet with a board certified Plastic Surgeon who will assess you and provide surgical options to assist you with your transformation.

All the best!

Rectus diastasis

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Congragulations on your weight loss! It is difficult to determine this based on your photograph. Often this is a diagnosis that comes from a physical exam. If it is indeed rectus diastasis further exercise will improve the subcutaneous soft tissue volume but will not improve the separation of the muscle. Definitive correction requires reapproximation of the muscles through a surgical procedure (often done with an abdominoplasty). I would seek consultation with a Plastic Surgeon to go over your available options.

Best of luck!

Ryan Mitchell, MD, FRCSC
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon

Diastasis recti?

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Hello, often it is possible for a PS to determine if you have a rectus diastasis based on physical exam only, but other times they may use imaging (US, CT, etc) to confirm the diagnosis.  There might be some improvement in the appearance with exercise and physio, but some patients find that their diastasis will not improve even with routine exercise and healthy eating habitats.

Would a tummy tuck help my abdominal pain that I have had for years?

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Thanks for the question.  I wish I had a very good answer for you.  It would be a pleasure to tell you that a nice tummy tuck would eliminate your abdominal pain, as well as to give you a better shape.  Unfortunately your best recommendation would be to start with a thorough examination by your Internist.  This may lead to a discovery of a proper source of understanding as to why you have the abdominal pain

If you can be reassured that there is no  physiologic or medical reason for the soreness, you certainly appear to be a good patient for a tummytuck

good luck to you.

Frank Rieger M.D.  Tampa Plastic Surgeon

Generally speaking, combination surgical procedures are done routinely. However, you are wise in being concerned about the safet

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I am sorry to hear about the pain you are experiencing. Generally speaking, best to start with your primary care physician for a good history and physical;  hopefully, the cause of your pain can be determined.   Subsequently, in person consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons will be our next step.

You will likely be a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery at some point; definitive advice however would necessitate much more information. Generally speaking, the “ideal” patient for tummy tuck surgery is one who has completed pregnancies, is psycho socially/emotionally/financially stable, has an excellent social support system surrounding him/her, is capable of arranging enough recovery time, does not smoke and who has reached a long-term stable weight.

Again, when the time is right, seek consultation with well experienced board certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate significant experience achieving the types of outcomes you would be pleased with. It will be important to educate yourself about the potential risks/complications associated with surgery and have a good idea of realistic expectations. Keep in mind, that it is a major operation, associated with a significant physical (and often emotional) recovery period. Having enough help/support at home for yourself and  any dependents will be important part of the planning process. I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.

Protruding stomach with pain for years, even after weight loss. Could it be diastatis recti?

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Following the advice from a surgeon or any other website who proposes to tell you what to do based on two dimensional photos without examining you, physically feeling the tissue, assessing your desired outcome, taking a full medical history, and discussing the pros and cons of each operative procedure would not be in your best interest. I would suggest you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

I'm 57, female. I've had a protruding stomach with pain for years, even after weight loss. Could it be diastatis recti?

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Congratulations on your weight loss.  After looking at your photos it could well be a diastasis problem.  It is common after pregnancy and more common after multiple pregnancies as is your case.
I recommend you to see a board certified plastic surgeon for examination and recommendations.  A good exam will tell if it is a diastasis issue.
Exercising will not help a diastasis problem and may even make it difficult to exercise.  This is a common complaint with women I've seen with a diastasis.

Good luck

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.