Plastic Surgery Technique to Correct Abdominal Muscle Split?

A year and a half ago, I had an emergency surgery to repair a bowel perforation, which occurred during a vaginal hysterectomy. The vertical abdominal scar developed an infection in one spot, and the muscles underneath that area have split apart for about 2 inches. My GP said that I could get it repaired, but this sort of repair often doesn't stay permanent. I am wondering, are there are any plastic surgery techniques that would effectively keep the muscles together? It isn't herniated, but there is a definite area where my abdomen sticks out. I am also not overweight.

Doctor Answers 2

Plastic surgery technique for abdominal muscle split

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Dear Kathyinmesa,

I could not disagree more with your GP. Having the rectus muscles separate AFTER a formal muscle plication repair done as part of a standard abdominoplasty is a RARITY. I have not seen it in my more than 200 such cases.

Assuming you are not a smoker, are in good health and have some loose lower tummy skin, the tummy tuck will flatten your tummy (by BOTH bringing the muscles together and taking loose skin off), narrow the waist, lift a droopy mons pubis and smooth your anterior thigh skin from cellulite.

The ONLY risk is that the entire midline vertical scar may not be taken off and the triangles where it meets the horizontal scar may have a low blood flow issue. This usually resolves.

Good Luck.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Muscle plication is what you are asking about.

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Yes, muscle plication is a standard component of a tummy tuck. The rectus abdominus muscles and their overlying connective tissue are advanced and repaired in the midline. A 2 cm separation (diastasis), is actually fairly small. I would expect at least this much separation in any patient whom has had a baby.

Having had previous surgery complicated by infection may make the procedure more difficult in your situation due to scar tissue but it is certainly possible. This procedure can be done without a standard tummy tuck as well. Your plastic surgeon will discuss the feasibility of this procedure with you.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 189 reviews

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