Can a Tummy Tuck Get Rid of Diastasis Recti?

By: Dr. Sean Kelishadi, M.D. FACS


It is estimated that up to half of women who give birth develop diastasis recti, a condition characterized by the separation of abdominal muscles, which often creates the appearance of a belly pooch or pouch. In addition to helping reduce loose skin and stubborn fat resulting from pregnancy, tummy tuck surgery can also be used to correct diastasis recti and restore a flatter, smoother midsection. Today, you’ll find important information from Newport Beach board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Kelishadi and the expert team at SSK Plastic Surgery on how a tummy tuck for diastasis recti works and what results may be possible for you.

The connection between pregnancy and diastasis recti

Diastasis recti can affect virtually anyone, though it is most often a result of pregnancy. As a woman’s uterus grows to accommodate the developing fetus, there is extreme pressure placed on the abdominal muscles, which ultimately can cause a vertical separation at the midline. Even after the woman has given birth and returns to her normal pre-pregnancy weight and shape, the muscle weakness and separation persist, leaving the belly to “stick out” without support from the musculature.

Will diastasis recti go away on its own?

In some cases, particularly when the mother is young and relatively fit or is having her first child, the ab muscles may “snap back” to their original state after delivery. Oftentimes however, especially for women who have had more than one pregnancy, given birth to multiples, or had a relatively large baby, diastasis recti will not spontaneously repair itself. Some targeted abdominal exercises may help to encourage the repair of diastasis recti, but others —including the common crunch or sit-up — may actually worsen the problem in certain patients. One of the most effective and reliable options for fixing diastasis recti is tummy tuck surgery.

Correcting abdominal muscle separation with a tummy tuck

During tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Kelishadi is able to surgically reposition, tighten, and reinforce the abdominal wall muscles, restoring support in the midsection to minimize the appearance of a belly pouch or pooch. In addition, a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) can help to:

  • Remove loose, hanging skin
  • Reduce pockets of stubborn fat
  • Tighten wrinkled skin
  • Remove abdominal stretch marks
  • Improve posture
  • Boost self-esteem

Will a diastasis recti come back if I get pregnant after a tummy tuck?

When possible, patients are encouraged to wait until they are relatively certain they are done having children before undergoing tummy tuck surgery, as a subsequent pregnancy can compromise the results of the procedure, including “undoing” a diastasis recti correction. Because the abdominal muscles will once again be under significant pressure during a pregnancy that occurs after tummy tuck surgery, a diastasis recti can recur. By deferring tummy tuck surgery until you have finished having children and maintaining a stable weight over time, your slimmer, smoother new shape can last for decades.

Send your mommy pooch packing with a tummy tuck in Orange County, CA

Want to find out more about how a tummy tuck can help transform your figure and restore your pre-baby body? Browse our Newport Beach tummy tuck before-and-after photos here, and call to schedule your private consultation with one of Orange County’s premier board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Sean Kelishadi at SSK Plastic Surgery.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.