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.
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.
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.
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.
A tummy tuck is a procedure to contour the abdomen. It consists of 3 essential steps:
- Removing loose abdominal skin
- Tightening abdominal muscles
- 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.
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
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.
I have performed tummy tucks in patients with more than 40 years from their last son birth. This is not a problem at all.
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
A diastasis recti can be repaired at any time, assuming you are a good medical candidate.
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
A diastasis can be repaired at any time. Good luck with your decision to move forward and getting it fixed