The time taken to recover from diastasis recti surgery varies with patients. Any underlying medical conditions or development of complications during/after surgery may affect the recovery period.
Swelling on the abdomen usually takes up to 6 weeks to recover.
The development of a blood clot in your leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) might occur after surgery. As a preventive measure, your doctor may advise you to wear leg stockings for 3-4 weeks after surgery.
You can resume office after 1-2 weeks of surgery.
Activities that put pressure on the abdomen, such as lifting weights, should be avoided for about 2-4 weeks.
What is diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti is a condition where the partial or complete separation of the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) occurs, which causes a bulge in your abdomen. The rectus abdominis muscle contains two parallel bands of muscle meeting in the middle of your abdomen. Sometimes, it gets stretched by conditions that raise the abdominal pressure (for example obesity, pregnancy, lifting heavy weights, etc.) As a result, the distance between the two parallel bands increases. This creates a bulge that distorts the shape of your abdomen. It is sometimes referred to as the “pooch.” The condition makes the abdomen look loose and saggy.
What puts you at risk for diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti is a common occurrence among pregnant women. It affects about 75 out of every 100 pregnant women. You are at risk of getting it if:
- You have delivered more than one child (especially at short intervals).
- You are older than 35 years when pregnant.
- You are carrying or had a heavy baby.
- You are having or had twins, triplets, or more.
Not only women, but newborn babies and men can also get the condition. In newborns, it can be present by birth. However, it usually disappears on its own. Men can get the condition if they perform aggressive workouts and lift heavy weights without taking proper care and precautions.
How is diastasis recti surgery performed?
Proper exercises and physical therapy can help you manage diastasis recti. If you have a severe form of the condition, your doctor may recommend surgery. The surgery that is usually done for correcting diastasis recti is known as abdominoplasty (popularly known as tummy tuck surgery).
Abdominoplasty can be done as an outpatient or as an inpatient procedure. In the outpatient procedure, you will be usually discharged on the same day. In the inpatient procedure, your hospital stay can last for up to 2 days.
You will be given general anesthesia that will make you sleep throughout the surgery. The surgeon will make a horizontal incision between the belly button (umbilicus) and the pubic area. The skin and the underlying tissues will be elevated to look for the separated rectus abdominal muscle. Once found, the parallel bands of the muscle will be stitched back together with sutures. A mesh may be put over the muscle to secure it more tightly. The abdominal skin will be pulled back down to the pubic area and incisions will be sutured.
If you also desire to remove excess fat, your surgeon can excise it during abdominoplasty surgery for diastasis recti. Umbilical hernia due to severe diastasis recti can also be resolved during surgery.
What are the possible risks of abdominoplasty?
Possible risks of abdominoplasty performed for diastasis recti include:
- Wound dehiscence (reopening of a surgical incision either internally or externally)
- Seroma (pocket of clear serous fluid formed under the surgical wound)
- Wound infection
- Skin loss (major or minor)
- Loss of umbilicus
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Gabriel A. Abdominoplasty. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1271693-overview#a10
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