Can you sew together the abdominal muscles without a tummy tuck?

I have diastatsis recti. There is a gap the size of 3 of my fingers right around and above my belly button. That specific area sticks out like a torpedo. I would love a full tummy tuck, however I cannot afford that. I would be thrilled if just my muscles could be stitched back together. Is this possible, or just not worth it?

Doctor Answers 8

Repair muscles without tummy tuck

This can be repaired endoscopically by a general surgeon. However a diastasis is not a true hernia, only hernia repairs are covered by insurance. The costs would likely be as much or more than a tummy tuck. You appear to be in very good physical condition and are not over weight, this makes you an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck. Your best bet would be to hold out until you can afford the tummy tuck.

Sarasota Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Diastasis recti repair

Dear WineMom,

Endoscopic repair of diastasis recti can be performed without a full or even mini tummy tuck. However, very, very few patients are candidates for this procedure. Almost all patients with diastasis recti have associated loose skin which can only be treated by removal. Sometimes the muscle can be repaired and the excess skin can be removed via a mini tummy tuck whereby the there is no incision around the belly button or the belly button is not moved. However, most patients have the best result with a full tummy tuck with an incision around the belly button as well because of the amount of skin laxity present. See a plastic surgeon for an examination in person so that they can evaluate you and give you their opinion based on your exam. Hope this helps.

Luis H. Macias, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Am I a candidate for a mini tummy-tuck

A repair of the abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis) can be performed using endoscopic techniques with a small abdominal incision. This type of surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia and often costs around the same price as a full abdominoplasty. The recovery is also going to be similar since most of the discomfort comes from the muscle repair. Most often it makes more sense to have a full tummy-tuck.

Robert M. Jensen, MD
Medford Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Muscle repair without the tummmy tuck?

Thanks for your question and for your photo. Endoscopic tummy tuck can repair the muscles through small incisions but it is an unlikely patient that is truly a good candidate for this. Most women who require muscle repair will benefit from at least some skin excision. In my own practice, in select candidates I perform full muscle tightening, but with only a mini tummy tuck skin excision. This gives me enough access to tighten the muscles and the scar is smaller. While the belly button is separated from the skin it is put back in its original location like a mini tummy tuck.

Endoscopic tummy tuck would likely take longer and cost as much or more as a regular tummy tuck. I charge a full tummy tuck for procedure I have described above. While a mini tummy tuck costs less from your description it may not address the separation you have above the belly button.

Hope this helps.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Endoscopic tummy tuck

About one in a hundred people need the endoscopic tummy tuck that I see. It is more difficult to perform and about the same as a regular tummy tuck in my practice. It sews the muscles back together and then uses ultrasonic Vaser liposuction to finissh the procedure. Good Luck!

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Rectus diastasis

Although I have seen it done with a large midline incision, it is very difficult and near impossible to correct a rectus diastasis in a cosmetically acceptable way without a tummy tuck.

Can you sew together the abdominal muscles without a tummy tuck?

Thank you for your excellent question and detailed description.  It does not seem like you need a full TT.  There has been some work done on endoscopic repair of diastasis recti.  It is not commonly done and there are few surgeons who are experts in it.  I am sure you can find someone close to your area who has this kind of experience.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Endoscopic muscle repairs

can be done and perhaps you can convince your surgeon to remove just the extra skin to minimize your costs. Otherwise, save up for the procedure that you really want or consider financing this if you qualify.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 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.