Tummy Tuck for Diastasis Recti Repair: How It Works

Woman at the beach in 1950's swimsuit attire and holding sunglasses on her face. (Model)

Achieving a flat, toned abdomen is a common goal for many, but it can seem like an unreachable dream if you’re affected by diastasis recti. This condition, characterized by separated abdominal muscles, often leads to a bulging belly and a variety of discomforts. The solution, however, may be found in a tummy tuck, which effectively repairs the separation and restores the abdomen’s appearance.

Understanding Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti isn’t just a cosmetic concern; it’s a physical condition where the linea alba between the left and right abdominal muscles is compromised from overstretching. It’s a frequent postpartum challenge but can also result from significant weight fluctuations or certain exercises that increase abdominal pressure.

Causes & Risk Factors

This muscle separation mainly affects women post-pregnancy, but it isn’t limited to this group. Factors contributing to diastasis recti include improper workout techniques, rapid weight changes, and natural aging.

Symptoms & Identification

Diastasis recti involves the stretching and thinning of the linea alba, the connective tissue that binds the rectus abdominis muscles. This stretching can create a gap, or separation, in the abdominal muscles.

This separation can affect both physical appearance and function. If you suspect you may have diastasis recti, here are several key symptoms to watch for:

  • A protruding belly or “pooch” that is particularly apparent when the muscles are strained.
  • A noticeable gap or softness along the midline of the abdomen that can be felt with the fingers when lying down and lifting the head.
  • Lower back pain stemming from the lack of muscle support, which may worsen with certain movements.
  • Increased instances of urinary incontinence, especially during activities that put pressure on the abdomen, such as sneezing or jumping.
  • Challenges with maintaining proper posture due to the weakened support of the abdominal wall.
  • A general feeling of weakness in the abdominal area, affecting daily activities and exercise routines.

Complications if Left Untreated

Leaving diastasis recti unaddressed can lead to functional problems such as back pain, core instability, and even hernias due to the weakened support for the internal organs. Additionally, it can affect your self-esteem and body image.

Tummy Tuck for Diastasis Recti Repair

During a tummy tuck, the surgeon stitches this stretched tissue together, a process known as plication. This repair reduces the abdominal girth and restores the functional integrity of the abdominal wall. By suturing the muscles back to their original, closer position, the abdomen regains its former strength and stability.

The complexity of the procedure varies with the severity of the muscle separation. In a standard repair, sutures are placed vertically along the linea alba. For more extensive cases, horizontal sutures may also be necessary to ensure a uniform, flat abdominal wall. The surgical technique not only narrows the waistline but also reestablishes the core muscles’ support for the back and visceral organs, which can alleviate back pain and improve posture.

In addition to muscle repair, a tummy tuck removes the “apron” of excess skin that often accompanies diastasis recti, especially after significant weight loss or pregnancy. This skin excision is carefully planned and marked preoperatively to ensure the resulting scar is as low and discreet as possible.


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Before & After Tummy Tuck Case 23316 View #2 View in Orlando, FL
Before & After Tummy Tuck
Before & After Tummy Tuck Case 23378 View #1 View in Orlando, FL
Before & After Tummy Tuck
Before & After Tummy Tuck Case 76294 Left Side View in Orlando, FL
Before & After Tummy Tuck
Before & After Tummy Tuck Case 69060 View #2 View in Orlando, FL
Before & After Tummy Tuck
Before & After Tummy Tuck Case 23452 View #1 View in Orlando, FL
Before & After Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck Surgery Explained

My approach to abdominoplasty for diastasis recti combines meticulous muscle repair with contouring techniques. This dual technique ensures the aesthetic outcome is harmonious and natural-looking, complementing the strengthened core.

As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I understand that every patient’s needs and goals are unique. I offer tailored surgeries, including full, and extended tummy tucks.

In a full tummy tuck, I carefully place a hip-to-hip incision low on the abdomen for easy concealment by most clothing and swimwear. This access allows me to address a broad area of the abdomen, meticulously repairing the muscles and removing excess skin. In some cases, I integrate liposuction to refine the body’s contour further. Read tips for preparing for tummy tuck surgery in our related blog post.

For more extensive needs, I perform the extended tummy tuck. This option is particularly beneficial for patients who’ve experienced considerable weight loss and are left with significant excess skin that extends around the flanks. The procedure involves more extensive incisions, which allow for dramatic reshaping and tightening of the abdominal area and sides.


My team and I provide comprehensive guidance to ensure a smooth recovery, which typically involves wearing a compression garment, managing discomfort with prescribed medications, and gradually resuming activity under professional supervision. While recovery times vary, most patients can anticipate returning to work within 2 to 3 weeks and normal activities within 4 to 6 weeks.


You will likely see a noticeable improvement in your abdominal contour shortly after surgery. These changes will gradually improve further as most of your swelling recedes, which may take a few months. A small amount of residual swelling may linger for several more months.

Schedule a Consultation

If diastasis recti has been a source of physical discomfort or dissatisfaction with your body shape, a tummy tuck could be the transformative step you need. I invite you to schedule a consultation, where we can discuss your goals and take the first step toward reclaiming your confidence and comfort. Call my office at (407) 218-4550 or request a consultation online.

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