Downtime for Umbilical Hernia Repair, and How Bad is Scar? (photo)

I have an umbilical hernia after having 3 kids, the last of which was born in 2008. I also have a diastasis recti that is quite large. Can they do the hernia repair without fixing the diastasis? The hernia has recently gotten bigger. How bad are scars? I am very active in gym and compete in Bodybuilding competitions (bikini division). How soon after surgery can I start lifting again? Do PS typically perform this type of surgery and is it covered by insurance?

Doctor Answers 5

Umbilical hernia

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

it is tough to get a good result without simultaneous repair of the umbilical hernis and the diastasis recti.

New York Plastic Surgeon

Hernia repair

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
If performed alone, the hernia repair would be done by a board certified general surgeon and would be covered by insurance. Repair of the diastasis is considered cosmetic and would not be covered. Every surgeon has his own postop protocol in terms of resuming activities. I personally think that repairing the hernia without addressing the diastasis is not the way to go but the financial considerations may dictate otherwise to you.

Umbilical hernia and wide separation of abdominal muscles

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for your question and photo. You do show a wide separation and washed out appeaance of your abdominal wall. If you are competing in body building competition, than I suggest repairing the diastesis and the umbilical hernia at the same time. Your semilunar lines (lateral edge of your rectus abdominis muscle) is way too lateral, your oblique muscles are not well defined and your upper abdomen does not have the slight middline depression which is seen in women body builders. The surgery can be donthrough a small very low C-section type of incision. This will give you an abdomen that yo see in Shape magazine. You should not lift for 6 weeks after surgery to allow for healing. Even this way your abdomen will look better than if you have no surgery or hope to achieve in the gym. Good luck. See a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in this type of body shaping.

Downtime for Umbilical Hernia Repair, and How Bad is Scar

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Umbilical hernias are occasionally fixed by plastic surgeons, but usually fixed by general surgeons, and they should be covered by insurers. 

Both of the photos you have posted are in extremes of posing, and none are at rest. Based upon the side view, I would do only a hernia repair. 

The problem with repairing the diastasis without a tummy tuck is that the skin attached to the rectus muscles remains attached and can "buckle" in the midline.

Unless the at rest view looks much like the posted frontal view, I don't see much advantage to repairing the diastasis.

Down time would have to be reviewed with your surgeon, and could be up to six weeks for lifting. 

Thanks, and best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Umbilcal hernia scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If you need only a repair of the umbilical hernia our experience has been that this is covered by most insurance plans. Some surgeons might use a laparascopic technique, and some open through a small umbilical incision which if well planned will heal very well. A few plastic surgeons will do this type of surgery, many will not unless other cosmetic procedures are involved.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 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.