The rectus abdominis are the paired muscles in the front of your abdomen commonly referred to as “six-pack abs”. They are arranged on either side of the midline and are separated by a band of connective tissue. Diastasis recti are a condition where the muscle pairs are separated from the midline. It commonly occurs following multiple pregnancies due to repeated stretching of the abdomen and in women carrying large babies. Hormones released during pregnancy can weaken the abdominal wall and may lead to protrusion of the abdomen, poor posture, low back pain and hernia. The condition is usually temporary and can be resolved with exercise, but rarely may be permanent and in severe cases may require surgical repair.
Diastasis recti repair may be performed six to nine months after delivery to allow your body to resolve any physical or hormonal changes. During the procedure, the midline connective tissue is shortened and reinforced and the abdominal muscles are positioned appropriately. Diastasis recti repair is usually performed by a general surgeon to strengthen a hernia repair and decrease hernia recurrence. Diastasis recti repair can be surgically repaired with a hernia surgery using laparoscopic robotic assisted surgery or with an open hernia surgery combined with abdominoplasty, a cosmetic procedure to remove excess skin and fat performed with a plastic surgeon.