Q: Dr. Eppley, I believe I suffer from diastasis recti. I have had 2 pregnancies, and both were c-section deliveries. My first was emergency and my second was scheduled. I have all of the symptoms of diastasis recti, and have been to numerous doctors complaining of these symptoms over the last 5 years. None ever even mentioned diastasis. Have you done many surgeries to correct this? Are they successful? Thank you for your time!
A: Diastasis recti are a very common abdominal wall deformity after multiple pregnancies. It is important, however, to not confuse this with a hernia which is an actual hole in the abdominal wall. Diastasis recti is the vertical separation of the muscular union across the midline of the abdominal wall but has an intact wall unlike a hernia. In thin women a diastasis recti can be seen as a deep wide groove from the lower end of the sternum down to or past the belly button. Reapproximating or repairing the diastasis recti is a common part of an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck procedure, mainly because there is wide open access to do it and it helps produce some additional abdominal flattening. It is repaired by sewing it together with permanent sutures, hence the term ‘sewing the muscles together’ when a tummy tuck procedure is described. It is very rarely, if ever, done as an isolated procedure outside of a tummy tuck as there is no medical reason to do so since it is not an actual hernia. Unlike a hernia, women do not usually complain of symptoms from it other than the aesthetic look of it if they are thin enough to see it. It is also a procedure that is not covered by insurance whether it is done as part of the tummy tuck or even as a stand alone procedure.
Dr. Barry Eppley