If you have experienced the joy of pregnancy, you may have also experienced the wonder of the body’s ability to bounce back from childbirth. Many a 9-month pregnant woman has stared at her belly and wondered how it will ever return to normal. And while it isn’t the miracle that childbirth itself is, it can be a wonder to watch that tummy flatten out in a matter of months.

Some women, however, don’t have that experience. For these women, the connection between the left and right sides of the abdominal muscles is overwhelmed during pregnancy, leaving a separation that persists long after delivery. This condition is known as diastasis recti (DR).

The vertical separation between the rectus abdominis muscles, also known as the “six-pack” muscles, is formed by a line of connective tissue called the linea alba. In DR, the linea alba is stretched so that it is weak and wider than normal. This can lead to a bulge in the tummy where the muscles no longer meet.

This condition is not only caused by pregnancy. Repeated weight gain and loss can cause it, as can improper weightlifting or trauma. This means men can also experience diastasis recti.

In some instances, exercise will reduce the diastasic, but it won’t completely correct it. Physical therapy may also be beneficial.

But for some, the diastasis persists in spite of exercise and physical therapy. The separation of tissue causes the abdominal contents to bulge outward and this can interfere with daily activities. Lifting heavy objects and children, standing up from a sitting position, and even having a bowel movement can become a problem in severe cases. The appearance of the bulge is also troubling for some.

In these circumstances, surgery may be the best solution to correct the problem.

Many people elect to have this surgery in conjunction with a tummy tuck. During the tummy tuck procedure, the surgeon can easily access the abdominal muscles and pull them together, surgically strengthening the connection between left and right. He will then proceed with the tummy tuck, removing excess skin, repositioning the belly button, and creating a flatter and tighter abdomen.

The result is a stronger, more attractive abdomen.

The best way to determine if surgery can repair your abdominal muscles is to discuss your concerns with a plastic surgeon. He can talk to you about the effect muscle repair in conjunction with tummy tuck will have on your appearance and daily activities. He can also discuss the risks of the surgery as well as other options.

If you would like to discuss tummy tuck with muscle repair, Dr. Slack would be pleased to offer a consultation in his office near McKinney, TX. Please contact us now to schedule your appointment.