What Is Diastasis Recti? Can a Tummy Tuck Solve It?

Blonde, blue-eyed woman laying on a bed, smiling, with her face propped up by her left hand

Some of the most frustrated patients I consult with are women who have what’s informally called a “belly pooch.” They’ve had children, and despite getting back to their pre-pregnancy weight through exercise and dieting, they can’t rid themselves of the pudgy bellies. Some are even asked if they’re pregnant again. When they come in to discuss tummy tuck surgery at my Sacramento or Granite Bay offices, they ask if the procedure can help.

The answer is an emphatic yes. Most people don’t know that a post-pregnancy belly pooch is caused by a condition called diastasis recti. In this blog post, I’ll explain the reason up to 60% of women experience this condition after having a baby and why it can’t be fixed with exercise and dieting.

What Is Diastasis Recti?

The easiest way to understand the condition is to consider the pressure a growing fetus puts on the tissue that holds together the “six-pack” muscles on the left and right sides of the abdominal area. It’s like a seam that stretches if you gain weight. Ultimately, the seam splits when it’s stretched too much. Exercises such as crunches won’t correct the issue because it’s not caused by weak muscles. In fact, improper core workouts can actually worsen the condition.

Does Diastasis Recti Go Away Without Treatment?

For some people, that’s the case. But a large percentage of women still have a belly pooch a year after giving birth, and it can undermine their confidence when they want to wear a tight-fitting dress or anything that exposes their midsection. Physical therapy can sometimes reduce the appearance of a belly pooch over time, but surgery is often needed.

How Does a Tummy Tuck Fix Diastasis Recti?

Both women and men get tummy tuck surgery to remove excess abdominal skin that remains after losing a lot of weight. For some people, the skin retains enough elasticity to “shrink-to-fit” the body’s new contours, but others need surgery if the excess skin bothers them. A tummy tuck also provides a plastic surgeon access to the stretched and separated muscles that cause the belly pooch. During the procedure, the surgeon can fix the problem by suturing the muscles together. The result is a flatter, toned core that truly transforms the appearance of a patient’s midsection.

You can see just how transformative the results can be by browsing the gallery of before-and-after photos featuring some of my actual patients. If those results look good to you, contact our office using the online form to request a consultation. Or you can call to schedule a tummy tuck consultation at our Granite Bay or Sacramento offices. Call (916) 773-5559 (Granite Bay) or (916) 929-1833 (Sacramento).

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