Is Tummy Tuck a Good Solution for Diastasis Recti?

I am a 30-year-old male with a slight (1-2 finger size) diastasis recti. My doctor states this is no need for concern but being a therapist I am worried about its long term effects on my lower back, increased potential for umbilical hernias and overall core strength and stability. I have read that this should be surgically repaired. Is this true? If so, what procedure is recommended? Is Tummy Tuck a good solution? What would the recovery time be?

Doctor Answers 16

Tummy tuck for you?

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If you had massive weight loss and need skin excised along with a muscle repair, a tummy tuck is indicated. If you don't have skin excess, a limited incision or endoscopic muscle repair can be done.

Generally though, most patients with what you describe would just exercise and avoid surgery. Having a rectus diastasis doesn't make you a ticking time bomb for back problems, umbilical hernias or core instability long term.

Repair of Diastasis Recti?

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Thank you for the question.

Based on your description (and without the benefit of examining  you in person)  I would not suggest surgery for the the diastasis recti  if you're otherwise satisfied with the appearance of your abdomen. There is no study to show that this repair will prevent any problems in the future.

If you're still concerned you may want to visit with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Small diastasis

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A 1-2 finger breadth diastasis is within normal limits and would not be an indication for abdominoplasty. Unless you have other concerns, such as love handles or skin laxity which you would like a plastic surgeon to address, surgery would not be necessary.

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A tummy tuck is for removal of fat and skin

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All males have some 'diastasis recti'. Unless you get very fat, it won't separate more than about 2 cm (normal). When I do a female tummy tuck, I always narrow the diastasis, which has usually been stretched by pregnancy. Not a male problem unless you have been obese. If you've been thin, stick with exercise to maintain your 'core balance'.

G. Gregory Gallico III, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon

Sounds like you don't need surgery

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You sound very knowledgeable about rectus diastasis. And my impression of you is that you're probably in good physical shape. If this is true there's no need to repair the diastasis. If the strength of the muscles is good repair of the diastasis won't do anything for you. Normal width between the muscles can be up to 1.5cm. If you are having problems with pseudoherniation than that would also be an indication to fix the problem.

Just because you can fix something, it doesn't mean you should.

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It is not likely that this diastasis will amount to much. Of course, if you have multiple pregnancies this can become considerably worse. Barring that, there is no guarantee that repairing a diastasis will necessarily prevent back pain or umbilical hernias.

I would advise that you contemplate core strengthening excercises to enhance your abdominal wall function and aesthetics.

Of course if you decide to proceded, there are methods of repairing the diastasis firberoptically or endoscopically without performing a tummy tuck.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Surgery not always the answer

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Short of seeing pictures and doing a physical exam, a small diastasis does not necessarily need to be repaired. It will not affect your stability or core strength. I would go in and see a board certified plastic surgeon to have a complete answer as to whether surgery is indicated.

Is Tummy Tuck a Good Solution for Diastasis Recti?

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Thank you for your excellent question, and I can understand your concern.  A tummy tuck is the preferred method of diastasis repair when patients are also suffering from excess, loose skin of the abdomen.  If the diastasis is an isolated issue, I would not recommend incurring the scar from a tummy tuck for this repair.  Appropriate diet and exercise to strengthen your core will help minimize the diastasis, and will not predispose you to the development of a hernia or other abdominal issue.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

TT for diastasis?

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Consider removal of skin to tighten area. If you have lower belly looseness or diastasis then you could get a tummy tuck where the fascia is tightened. If fascia is not loose then lipo. good luck!

Tummy tuck for male diastasis recti.

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Abdominoplasty, (tummy tuck), is a great solution for extra skin on the abdomen.  At the time one can plicate, (put back together), the separated rectus muscles.  If you don't have a primary indication for the abdominoplasty, most would not repair the diasasis unless symptomatic.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 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.