As a mother of two, I know that pregnancy can cause many changes to a woman’s body, particularly to the lower abdomen. During pregnancy, the body produces hormones that soften the connective tissues of the abdomen, allowing it to stretch to accommodate the growing uterus. As a result, the tissue along the mid line of the abdomen that connects the left and right halves of the rectus abdominis muscle is stretched thin. In most cases, this widening is temporary, and the tissue re-tightens naturally after the birth of the child. However, in about 30% of all pregnancies, the mid line separation does not close sufficiently and the tissue remains too wide and lax, resulting in a condition called diastasis recti.
With diastasis recti, the abdominal muscles remain separated, causing the entire midsection to become wider and a small mound to protrude along the length of the midline. The separated muscles, no longer in their optimal positions, are significantly weakened and can no longer do the job of supporting your back and organs. The reduced integrity and functional strength of the abdominal wall can aggravate lower back pain and pelvic instability. Once the connective tissue (linea alba) joining these muscles has stretched sideways, it remains much thinner and weaker, leaving you more prone to hernias and other abdominal injuries.
The damage from diastasis recti can, in many cases, heal over time but after 12 months the improvements are minimal. However some patients, particularly those interested in mommy makeover, have the muscles and connective tissue retightened with abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery. This allows me to remove excess fat and loose skin at the same time, creating more aesthetically pleasing overall results.
Prior to tummy tuck surgery, I recommend strengthening your abdominals with specific exercises that won’t hyperextend the abdomen or cause the abdomen to bulge upon exertion. I provide my patients with a number of safe and effective exercises that can strengthen the abdominals without undue stress prior to a tummy tuck procedure.
If you are interested in a procedure I perform, please contact my office to schedule a consultation today. Additionally, Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. provides a variety of options for financing, including Care Credit® to assist with many of the cosmetic procedures I perform. Please contact us with any questions you may have concerning the financial planning of your procedure. Be sure to also connect with me, Dr. Allyson Maske, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news and updates.