Repair the Rectus Diastasis
When Dr Marco talks about one having a rectus diastasis problem, what does it mean?
The rectus refers to the rectus abdominal or core muscles, and diastasis means separation gap.
So rectus diastasis, in simple terms, is the separation of the left and right abdominal muscles, also known as the linea alba. It is a separation of the rectus abdominal (abdominis) in the midline of the core muscles. The separation gap can be larger than 2 cm.
Who can get this problem of rectus diastasis?
This rectus diastasis can happen to anyone, both male and female, and it can affect those who:
– suffers from unstable weight gain and loss
– post-pregnancy women
– can be idiopathic – meaning anyone can get it at any point in their life.
How do you know you have a rectus diastasis problem? Are there any signs and symptoms?
A physical manifestation is the “abdominal bulge”. The bulge will make one look like they are pregnant or still having a “mummy tummy”. It is a possible condition for anyone who has tried to exercise or has been constantly exercising and is always careful about their diet but still has an abdominal bulge that does not go away.
Here’s how to do a self-check at home:
- Lie down your back on the floor, bend your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Hold your head in your hands and lift your shoulders and head off the floor.
- Place two fingers in the midline of your abdomen.
- If you feel a gap in the midline, you might have a rectus diastasis gap.
- Try to do a sit-up, and if you have a sausage-like bulge projecting on your abdomen, it may also indicate rectus diastasis.
- Constant or frequent backaches and pain (even if you have gone for professional advice and help)
- Signs of urinary incontinence
- Early signs of pelvic floor dysfunction
- Spine instability – such as poor posture or lordosis, commonly known as swaying of the spine
- Limited functional movements
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What happens if we do not seek treatment?
Failure to seek treatment for rectus diastasis can lead to chronic medical problems, such as:
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Bad postures from lordosis & swaying of the spine
- Pelvic floor dysfunction and weakness
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Urinary incontinence
- Onset of hernias
- Chronic constipation
How do you treat rectus diastasis?
For those lucky ones who managed to detect it early when their rectus diastasis gap is very small (less than 1- 2 cm), management is possible with the help of a physiotherapist or physical educator. Note that this management may be limited to a certain extent and may only be possible if there are no other medical issues.
Often, many are not so lucky. When they seek help, the rectus gap is usually already wider than 2-3 cm. It’s common to see them suffering from chronic back pains and aches and pelvic floor dysfunctions. In such cases, surgical intervention is recommended.
The different types of rectus diastasis
How is the surgery done?
Surgery can be via:
- Open method
- Close method
What is an open method?
Open-method surgery is for those who present with excess skin. The incision is made along the bikini line, and the excess skin is removed simultaneously. This technique has a tightening effect on the abdomen and also the groin area.
What is a close method?
Close-method surgery is for those without excess skin but only a prominent abdomen bulge. It can be done through the endoscopic method or the latest high-tech way of using the Da Vinci© Robotic Surgical System. These methods leave minimal keyhole scars.
How is the rectus diastasis gap repaired?
The rectus diastasis plication surgery is done by stitching the left and right abdominal muscles to make an inner-like corset in the midline from the xiphoid to the umbilicus and down to the pubis area. Depending on the severity of the gap and the condition of the rectus tissues, the repair can be done in two layers.
How long is the surgery?
Surgery time will depend on the individual case, complexity, severity of the rectus diastasis gap and surgical method. It can last for two to four hours.
What is the recovery like?
There are different phases of recovery for this surgery. It requires a minimum of an overnight stay in the hospital. Patients are advised to rest and limit movement for at least a week after the procedure. Light exercises are possible a month after the surgery. Any strenuous activities such as playing tennis, golf, or marathons will be from three months onwards, depending on individual recovery.
Is this surgery covered by medical insurance?
Depending on the severity of our symptoms, it can be classified as a medical condition, and your medical insurance can cover the surgical repair.
To know more about the above procedure or if you suspect you might have a rectus diastasis problem , call us at our clinic at 65-64648075 for an appointment to consult Dr Marco.