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Rectus Diastasis Repair In PHOENIX, AZ

Rectus Diastasis Repair in Phoenix, AZ

Rectus diastasis refers to a condition where the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) separate or widen out, resulting in a stomach that appears to stick out. During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a lot of changes to accommodate the developing fetus. In some cases, the abdominal muscles will separate to make room for the new body. It is no wonder that 1 in two women suffer from rectus diastasis following pregnancy. This condition is usually temporary and resolves itself, but can also linger on to present a more permanent problem. In men, rectus diastasis may be caused by excess weight. While rectus diastasis poses no risk in itself, it can result in a plethora of physical and aesthetic symptoms. The intervention of a doctor or plastic surgeon is needed in order to alleviate this condition and free up patients to live a more fulfilling life.

Phoenix plastic surgeon Jude LaBarbera performs diastasis recti repair surgery to improve his patient’s quality of life. The surgeon serves both male and female clients from Phoenix and surrounding Arizona areas. Dr. LaBarbera has already performed numerous of these procedures and is a highly specialized practitioner. He uses advanced surgical techniques in order to achieve a pleasant procedure outcome while minimizing the risk of side effects and complications.


Rectus diastasis means that your abdomen tends to stick out because the space between your right and left abdominal muscles has widened. It is not uncommon for this condition to be referred to as a ‘pooch’. Pregnant women are most affected, with more than half having this condition. This is because pregnancy puts so much pressure on the belly. The risk of getting rectus diastasis increases with a woman’s age, and the number of children. Although not as likely, newborn babies can have their belly spread. This however goes away on its own. Men may have recti diastasis as a result of sticking to the wrong diet, doing weightlifting and sit-ups the wrong way, or due to other causes. The most common symptom of rectus diastasis is a bulge or pooch in the patient’s abdomen, which may appear profound when they strain or contract their abdominal muscles. Other symptoms may include:
  • Poor posture
  • Lower back pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty performing routine tasks
  • Difficulty lifting objects
  • Weak abdominal muscles
During your initial consultation visit with Dr. LaBarbera, the surgeon will listen to your concerns and conduct a physical examination to determine whether or not you have rectus diastasis. Imaging tests such as ultrasound or CT scan may be used to help with the diagnosis.


The LaBarbera clinic is a full-service plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgery practice offering a broad range of procedures to enhance your natural beauty and take your confidence to the next level. We go the extra mile to make each patient comfortable and our surgical team works together to achieve results as dramatic or as subtle as you desire. Dr. Jude LaBarbera takes great pride sharing in each patient’s vision and working diligently to help each one of them feel more attractive, confident, and vivacious than ever before. If you are wondering whether plastic surgery with Dr. Jude LaBarbera can help reach your goals, see our before and after photos from patients who are already living with their results.


Since diastasis recti is not a true hernia and poses no health risks, most doctors recommend that you try to resolve it using noninvasive techniques. When discussing treatment options for this condition, Dr. LaBarbera will usually float the following options:


Some exercises can help strengthen your abdominal muscles and alleviate the symptoms of recti diastasis. Many specialists recommend performing deep belly exercises that are done with a neutral spine. That means you need to lie down with your knees up. The goal is to stimulate the use and control of your transverse abdominis. Some pelvic floor workouts such as Pelvic tilts and Kegel’s can also help. You may also be asked to entirely AVOID some types of abdominal exercises such as belly twists, common yoga poses, backward bends, heavy lifting workouts, and exercises that require the use of knees or hands without abdominal strength or support. Keep in mind that performing the RIGHT exercise in the right way is critical in order to prevent injury. You may need to work with a physical therapist who can help you get it right.


Surgery is not usually Dr. LaBarbera’s first choice for correcting any problem. But for many people, exercises are simply not enough for strengthening the abdominal muscles and alleviating the symptoms. In this case, the surgeon will recommend a ‘tummy tuck’ or ‘abdominoplasty’ that is specifically designed for diastasis recti repair. During the surgery, the surgeon’s focus will be on bringing the separated muscles back together. It may not be necessary to get rid of excess fat and skin – as is the case with a complete tummy tuck. In cases where patients also have umbilical hernia caused by severe diastasis recti, this will also need to be addressed during the surgery. Dr. LaBarbera typically uses general anesthesia for this treatment. Incisions may be placed around the belly button and then used to stitch back the widened out abdominal muscles using non-dissolvable sutures. Once the procedure is complete, the belly button is reattached and abdominal skin pulled back. The surgeon uses advanced surgical methods to ensure an excellent outcome while also minimizing scarring.

Talking to Dr. LaBarbera is the best first step to determine the best treatment for rectus diastasis repair. The surgeon understands that the needs of different patients are unique and will thus recommend the remedy that is best suited to your requirements.


While the tummy tuck surgery to repair rectus diastasis only takes 2-4 hours, you will need to set some time aside for recovery. Drains will be inserted that need to remain in place for about two weeks. Most patients experience swelling for up to 6 weeks following this procedure. A compression garment will be wrapped around the treatment areas throughout this period. You will be asked to take care of your wounds and avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous exercising. Although you will be able to resume routine activities in about two months, it may take up to a year before you can fully recover from rectus diastasis surgery.


The cost of diastasis recti repair surgery will vary from one patient to the other. Most health insurers consider this procedure to be an elective ‘cosmetic’ treatment and thus will not always cover it. During your initial consultation visit at Dr. LaBarbera’s Phoenix, AZ office, the surgeon’s team will provide a cost estimate based on an individualized treatment plan.




2 – 4 Hours


Up to 6 Weeks


Not Covered



Diastasis rectus often resolves on its own and many people do not need to undergo surgery. Particularly, patients who had minimal weight gain as a result of the pregnancy can benefit from certain types of exercises. When you visit Dr. LaBarbera for your first consultation, the surgeon will ask that you try proper diet and exercise before choosing to move forward with surgery.

Tummy tucks are known to help tighten and strengthen weakened abdominal muscles. Plastic surgeons perform this procedure – using permanent sutures – to reconnect the widened-out muscles and achieve a firmer and flatter abdominal contour. This procedure will help support the abdomen as well as alleviate the symptoms of rectus diastasis such as lower back pain and incontinence.

If surgery is the only (or best) option for repairing rectus diastasis, then you need to wait for at least one year after childbearing. This enables your body to fully heal and get ready for the procedure. This also gives enough to finish breastfeeding (at least over a few months) and try nonsurgical solutions such as exercise and diet.

Jude LaBarbera MD Plastic Surgery of Phoenix, AZ has provided this website for informational purposes only. This website does not constitute formal medical advice. Please contact our office to schedule your plastic surgery consultation to further discuss your medical needs. Serving Phoenix and other surrounding cities in Arizona.