What is it?
Many women are all too familiar with the post-pregnancy belly bulge that is seemingly impossible to fix with diet and/or exercise. This “pooch” is actually a medical condition known as diastasis recti. “Diastasis” means separation while “recti” refers to the abdominal muscles. The abdominal area sticks out because the left and right bands of ab muscles have separated from each other and widened. This separation is the result of significant pressure on the abdomen from pregnancy which causes the muscles to lose their shape. Many times this muscle opening decreases after giving birth, but changes can take up to a year and often the muscles do not return to their original position.
Who is affected by it?
Approximately two-thirds of all women who experience pregnancy and childbirth suffer from this condition. Diastasis recti often affects women who have had repeated pregnancies, multiple births, or a baby with a high birth weight.
How can you treat it?
There are exercises that can help, but it’s important to be careful as some routines such as crunches and sit-ups can actually make the separation worse. Physical therapy is also an option and can certainly help to improve the separation but will not fully resolve the issue. The only way to fully correct diastasis recti is with an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon can bring together and secure the muscles to their original location. It is important to note that while diastasis recti is considered a medical condition, insurance does not cover tummy tuck procedures to repair it.
If you are interested in finding out if you have diastasis recti and if you’re a candidate for a tummy tuck procedure, call the Quatela Center at 585.244.1000 to schedule a personal consultation appointment with board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. William Koenig. Mention this blog post for a special offer.