Can diastasis recti be corrected after 20 years?

I had a c-section 21 yrs ago. I workout 5-6 days/week and am conscious of what I eat but my belly seems to be getting worse. Can diastasis recti be corrected at my age?

Doctor Answers 12


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Pregnancy and weight gain can cause muscles to be stretched.  You can eat right, work out and be in tip top shape, but that will not correct the problem.  The only way to correct this is by surgery. Muscles are tightened back together with sutures,  known as a Diastais Repair.  The diastatis is one of the components of  a Tummy Tuck ( Abdominoplasty). During a Tummy Tuck often  the abdominal area, breast and hip areas are contoured by liposuction, the muscles are tightened and loose skin is removed. This is known as a traditional Tummy Tuck ( Abdominoplasty).

Sometimes patients are slim and do not need liposuction or may not have excess skin and only need the muscle repaired.This can  be done thru a small incision along the pubic hairline.  Some patients may also need a small amount of skin removed.

Chattanooga Plastic Surgeon

Diastasis Recti

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The condition of diastasis recti, or, literally, separation or "widening" of the distance between the two vertical rectus muscles in the abdominal wall occurs with virtually every pregnancy, and is permanent, because the connective tissues linking the two muscles is not elastic. It will never "tighten" back down after being stretched, and is therefore one of the primary reasons to have a "tummy tuck". In that surgery we place heavy sutures back and forth in the rectus sheath on each side to approximate the muscles, and this is what gives the flat vertical abdominal wall result with the surgery. So, to correct this condition, a "tummy tuck" is required, and thus you would need to be healthy enough for that surgery to have the diastasis correction--and this can technically be donè long after pregnancies. So, see your plastic surgeon to discuss if you are a good candidate for the surgery.

James H. Scheu, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Can diastasis recti be corrected after 20 years

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As long as you do not have any medical issues, a surgery to repair your diastasis can be done at this point. You might have some loose skin after a diastasis repair that also could be dealt with at the same time by a plastic surgeon.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews


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The separation of the rectus muscles created by pregnacy can be corrected at any time after the pregnancy. Hopefully it would be after the last pregnancy of your life.

The oldest patient I did an abdominoplasty on was age 74, this week I just saw here and she is doing well at age 79.

Walter D. Gracia, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

What is a tummy tuck?

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A tummy tuck is a procedure to contour the abdomen.  It consists of 3 essential steps:

  1. Removing loose abdominal skin
  2. Tightening abdominal muscles
  3. Removing subcutaneous fat
Every tummy tuck is customized to each individual; the incision length will vary, the amount of skin removal is different, the muscle repair will vary also.  The two main vertical muscles of the abdomen are the Rectus Abdominis muscles (the six pack muscles!).  They originate from under the ribs and insert on to the pubic bone, they are broad strong muscles that are usually "kissing" in the mid-line (middle).  With large weight gain & loss, pregnancy, surgery including C-Sections, the muscles will separate in the mid-line and pull apart from each other.  This leaves a noticeable pooch in the lower abdomen which is referred to as a diastasis recti.

Part of the tummy tuck procedure includes repairing the rectus muscles with tight, strong sutures that will be permanent.  We like to refer to this as a "permanent sit-up", there is no need to perform sit-ups ever again!!
To make sure this is a lasting and life long correction, all childbearing must be finished and your weight must be stable.  The amount of time a person has a diastasis before the repair is immaterial, the results are just as good if the diastasis is 1 month old or 20 years old.

Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 reviews


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Dear Aquabrown,

Yes you could have fix the diastasis recti after a long time from your last pregnancy. Just keep in mind you will need to proceed after having pre-op labs and a cardiologist evaluation. No matter how much exercise you do, if you have a diastasis you need to fix it in order to achieve a flatter abdomen.   Best wishes

Kelvin Eusebio, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Can diastasis recti be corrected after 20 years?

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As long as you are healthy and ht/wt proportional, your age and the length of time the diastasis has been present are not of concern. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Time is not a problem

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I have performed tummy tucks in patients with more than 40 years from their last son birth. This is not a problem at all. 

I, like a few other colleagues offer online consultations where you send us your photos and we can estimate the cost. Find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and discuss what will be the proper treatment to achieve the result you desires.


Dr. Luis Redondo

Luis Eduardo Redondo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Can diastasis recti be corrected after 20 years?

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A diastasis recti can be repaired at any time, assuming you are a good medical candidate.

I would suggest you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that you trust and are comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Diastasis rescti

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A diastasis can be repaired at any time. Good luck with your decision to move forward and getting it fixed

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.