My Husband Tore His Rectus Abdominis Muscle 8 Weeks Ago. Is Surgery the Solution?

He has been in pain since he tore the muscle. He just started physical therapy two weeks ago but hasn't seemed to help but feels worse after treatment. Is surgery the answer? If so what type of doctor should he see for this.

Doctor Answers 4

Surgery for torn abdominal muscle

Thank you for your question. I hope your husband is feeling better.  The answer to your question depends on exactly where and what kind of tear it was to his muscle. It is important first and foremost that he be seen by his primary care physician to check for more serious things such as a traumatic hernia.  If he does have a hernia associated with his rectus abdominis tear, then it is very unlikely that it will get any better without sugery.  To be sure you have an accurate assessment of what is going on, schedule appointments with two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for a full and complete evaluation to make sure your husband is a good candidate and that it is safe for him to have surgery.  I hope this helps.

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Torn rectus muscle

Rectus muscle can tear due to vigorous workout, sudden movement, or spontaneously.  However, it is a rare.  Torn rectus muscle manifests as bleeding, swelling, and pain.   It is important to verify that he indeed has a torn rectus muscle; often times, it is diagnosed on CT scan.  Although bleeding from rectus muscle can stop by itself, he will need to be followed up by a primary care physician or general surgeon to make sure.  If he has a large amount of bleeding (with increasing pain and hematoma), it may be necessary to drain the blood or drop the bleeding.  He should not be doing physical therapy until he is cleared by PMD/general surgeon to make sure that there is no more bleeding.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Torn Rectus Abdominus - Surgery the Solution?

I think my first question would be, are you sure that he tore his rectus abdominus? That is a pretty unusual injury. Could he instead have some sort of hernia? If it is just a torn rectus, then likely no surgery is required but if it is a hernia, then surgery is more likely needed. Physical therapy would not be beneficial for either type of injury. If it is a muscle tear, then it will only make it more. It needs rest untll fully healed, then possibly some PT to address any limitation of motion. A general surgeon would be best to evaluate. 

Braden C. Stridde, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Torn Rectus Abdominis Muscle

Thank you for your question.

I am sorry to hear about your husband. He should be seen by his primary care and/or general surgeon.  Hernia needs to be ruled out. Imaging may be helpful for diagnosis purposes.  Surgery may be the answer depending on the diagnosis.

Best Wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,485 reviews

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