My Diastasis Recti Repair Surgery (Abdominoplasty) Pt 1
If you want to jump to the Diastasis Recti surgery quick info/before pics part though, keep scrolling; it’s the bullet list at the bottom! If you want more information about what Diastasis Recti is, and how to diagnose it, scroll down for a great post about it!
My “Still look pregnant tummy” story…
As I may have mentioned elsewhere, I have a son and two twins girls. I love them to death, but noticed after my son I still had a pooch, even though I was down below my pre pregnancy weight. I didn’t mind though, figured I have a beautiful boy to show for it so that’s ok. Then along came my twins. My OB looked at me (I got giant, see picture below of 3 days before I had them) and said I will need surgery to fix my split. I hoped not, figured I’d try physical therapy stuff.
Fast forward to when the were born. Awesome birth, didn’t even know I was in labor (I will make a post about this later! They went into the NICU, and it’s truly amazing what the doctors can do) and 5 hours after my normal check up they were here. It was hard at first, I didn’t really pay attention to my body, figured I’d deal with it later.
How did I know I had Diastasis Recti?
Once I got the OK to work out, I started doing physical therapy sessions. Insurance paid for it as my doctor prescribed it. She checked me and said I had a 4 finger split in my abdomen. To check for this condition, lay on the ground and lift your head up a little bit. Put your fingers into the middle of your belly; if you have a split, you should be able to feel each side of your abs. The measurement is how many fingers you can fit from side to side.
I kept attending my physical therapy sessions, then I asked her “Would you honestly tell me if these workouts wouldn’t help close my gap?” She said it was likely I would need surgery to truly close my gap and restore functionality. So, with our out of pocket more than met, we decided to go forward with finding someone to fix this.
I live in a relatively small town (Jackson, Wyoming) and so asked my OB if there was anyone she recommended. She gave me the name of a plastic surgeon and I proceeded to set up an appointment with him.
At the appointment, he assessed me and said that it’s true I have a large split, and that work outs would not help it. This is NOT to say that DR safe work outs can’t help other people, just for my case, it could not help me. I’m a petite person, so these girls blew me up! He showed me some before and after pictures, and said it’d be 6,700 for everything. I am a part of a couple of really supportive DR facebook sites, and found that surprisingly that is a really good price.
My Reasoning to get Diastasis Repair Surgery/Abdominoplasty (More than just looks!)
Quick Answer: My Physical Therapist determined my gap was too big to repair through just work outs. Although I could be “functional” without the surgery, I would always have to be concerned about avoiding certain moves that could make my gap worse, and I also had awful lower back pain and no core strength. Not only this, but as a wife I could also feel more confident and get rid of “Still pregnant but I’m not” look that Diastasis Recti gives you. Read more to find some more personal reasons.
I had a lot to consider; with a 2 year old, 35 pound boy who loves his mama, and two 20 pound 5 month olds there would be a lot of help needed. However, I also have a very supportive husband, and my mother comes out Monday through Friday to help, as well as my dad when he can. We have a lot of family in the immediate area, which I am super thankful for. But the recovery time is 4 to 6 weeks NO HEAVY LIFTING. So of course, my question is, what’s heavy? A kid? Yes, it is! (ugh!). Like most mamas, I cannot imagine not being able to help out, or put kids to sleep, or play with kids etc.. at the same time, this DR was causing me serious pain. I could not bounce my babies as the pressure hurt my stomach; I could not swing my son around, I could not rough house with him, I could not do intense cardio, I could not carry a backpack for any long amount of time… so, even though it would be rough for a little bit, I decided to go through with it.
Will insurance cover repair of my Diastasis Recti, how much will it cost?
In terms of money, every insurance company is different, but I have Cigna, and they did not cover it. In fact, they specifically say in their coverage info that “Abdominalplasty to fix Diastasis Reci is not a covered benefit”. Why? Well, we called and they said “There are no studies or proof to say that it causes pain, and that is is not for anything other than cosmetic reasons. I am FUNCTIONAL with it.” Pft… ask any woman who has this, and she will tell you different. I have heard from other people on my support pages that it was covered, so it is definitely worth checking out.
Most doctors, it seems, will consider this a tummy tuck and take away skin and fat as well. I did not care about that part as much, but good GAWD it will be nice to not be asked how far along I am anymore. Which, by the way, is NEVER ok to ask! I’m sure we all have just crushing stories about this. I know I was doing cardio, my PT workouts and all that, was feeling good about myself, then would just get crushed when I went out to the grocery store and the well meaning clerk asked… hence why in most of my pictures, I am in a baggy sweatshirt.
Day of the Surgery!
Day of my Diastasis Recti Repair Surgery
Fairly easy check in process. The doctor met with me, drew some lines, and answered any final questions. I got a new kind of anesthesia, the kind they administer through your IV instead of through gas. They said the reason for this is that it would make you less groggy when you woke up, as well as less nauseous. I had heard of that being a problem, so I’m happy to report none of those things happened to me! They also offered some sort of anti anxiety medication in case I was concerned I would become anxious while being rolled in to the operating room. I declined this, as the affects in breastfed babies has not been studied, and it is thought to have a long half life; ie, it will stay for a long time in your milk. They knocked me out, and it was super relaxing! Hah!
When I woke up I definitely felt some pain, but that subsided once my pain medication (Percocet) kicked in. I was given two of the pills every 4 hours for pain management. This is the same medication they give C Section mamas, so it was ok to nurse. I brought my pump so as to not lose my supply; no need to “pump and dump” at all!
I opted to stay in the hospital an extra night, mainly because I needed really good rest. My twins had co-slept with me since the start, so as bad as I felt for hubby, I wouldn’t be able to sleep if they were screaming since I wasn’t there. Also, it was nice to get to learn how to take care of everything like my drains, the meds I need, and just generally how to move around safely.
Updates on this story!
The summarized version about Diastasis Recti Corrective Surgery (Abdominoplasty) for those who don’t want to read a novel 😛
- Click this link for some great info about it, and how to diagnose it https://wellnessmama.com/60398/diastasis-recti/
- Once you know you have diastasis recti, and you’ve determined Physical Therapy is not for you, find a plastic surgeon. They will do a better job generally than a general surgeon. It cost me 6,700 in Jackson, Wyoming, but can be anywhere from that to 12,000 depending on where you live.
- Expect to not be able to lift for 4 to 6 weeks. Some people however are able to return to week after 3 weeks depending on what you do. I was able to take care of my children by week 3 for the most part.
- If you are nursing, you can still do this. You just need to pump until you are well enough to nurse. I was told if I put pillows on my tummy that I could nurse my babies since the binder is so supportive.
- Insurance may cover it if your doctor uses the right codes, but do not get your hopes up. Definitely ask about it at your first meet up.