diastasis recti / Fitness / Health / Top Posts / Women

Diastasis/Umbilical Hernia Repair: Post-Surgery Photo Log

When people ask me if the surgery to repair my abdominal diastasis and umbilical hernia was worth it, I occasionally hesitate.

The recovery is far from easy, the scar spans the entire width of my abdomen, and I still am dealing with minor little niggles here and there (incision itching, skin and muscle tightness, abdominal pain and soreness, spitting sutures, a seroma that won’t seem to drain, and numerous irrational worries).

But then I look at the before and after photos and can’t help but answer with a resounding

YESSSSSS. It was worth it and then some.

Because I realize it didn’t take long for me to forget what I was dealing with before surgery: guts that felt like they might spill out on the floor, low back pain, abdominal pain, core weakness, a stomach that looked 13 months pregnant…

But the pictures are worth a whole boat load of words.

The stark contrast reminds me of precisely why I needed this surgery in the first place. Despite all of the minor annoyances I’m dealing with now, the pictures remind me that I should feel nothing but gratitude for having had the opportunity to do it.

drbeforeafter1

drbeforeafter2

The before and after shots…’nuff said

dr1week

I was amazed by how flat my stomach was immediately after surgery. I actually had very little swelling this first week, but would swell more in subsequent weeks. This was the day I got my drains out and when I developed the seroma in my lower abdomen.

dr10days

That “ball” below the incision line is the seroma. I started developing some bruising and swelling at this point.

dr2weeks

By two weeks I noticed a big difference in my energy and comfort level. I was still mostly confined to the house, but was able to walk with just a slight hunch as opposed to seriously bent over

dr3weeks

This picture was at the end of the day and I was really swollen. In the evenings I could feel the swelling coming on, especially once I started working out more. This week I started walking or riding a recumbent bike up to an hour each day.

dr4weeks

I ran a mile nonstop this week! But I still felt pretty unstable in my abdomen and continued to wear the belly binder during the day, although I might take it off for bed.

dr6weeks

By 6 weeks I finally felt comfortable enough to take the belly binder off for good, even for workouts. I was running pretty regularly at this point (up to 2 miles at a time), doing the elliptical, and riding my road bike. Swimming still was pretty painful; flip turns were out of the question

dr8weeks

Took this last week. I’ve noticed the swelling has really started to go down. I’ve started doing gentle ab work (planks, yoga, pilates, TVA exercises) and am starting to get some functional core strength back; definitely not ready for crunches or sit ups yet. But I’m totally unrestricted as far as running and biking, and even swimming feels pretty good now (flip turns are still sketchy). While I’m still not at 100%, especially with running and swimming, I’m back on my training plan for the Kona Ironman! At this point I still have tightness in my abdomen (from the muscle plication and the skin removal), and some pain if I put too much strain on my abs. Overall I’m feeling really good at 8 weeks! The initial recovery was harder than I thought, but the speed of the recovery has been WAY faster than I expected.

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50 thoughts on “Diastasis/Umbilical Hernia Repair: Post-Surgery Photo Log

  1. Hello! Did insurance take care of this? I have both as well and my general surgeon referred me to a plastic surgeon and it doesn’t sound like they will cover DR. Thank you!

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    • Hi there! Unfortunately that is the norm from what I had researched. Since I had a hernia as well my surgeon went above and beyond to work with my insurer, and my surgery ended up being covered. I would talk with your surgeon/insurer and see if there’s any way that even a portion of it could be covered. Good luck!

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  2. Hi
    I have umbilical hernia and diastesis also . Met with a general surgeon today who said he could do the hernia surgery but not the diastesis. Going to also go get opinion of plastic surgeon . Curious if insurance paid for any of your surgery? My stomach looks exactly like yours…. before that is .
    It doesn’t make sense for me to get just one repaired and not the other at the same time.

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    • Hi there! Yes that sounds right; I consulted with both a general S. and a PS and both said that a PS could do the diastasis repair but not the hernia, and that the GS could do the hernia repair but not the diastasis. I ended up having the PS perform the diastasis repair and a GS assisted with the hernia repair. It definitely made sense to repair both at the same time. As a general rule (from all of the research I did before my surgery, and I did A LOT), there are very few (if any) insurers who will cover a diastasis repair because they consider it cosmetic surgery (complete BS…). I was really fortunate in that my surgeon and insurer worked together and I was able to get my surgery covered because I also had a hernia, although I don’t know if that’s the norm. Good luck! I feel your pain my friend. Let me know how everything goes

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      • Hi! I’m sooo glad I found your page on google! I saw a specialist surgeon and like you mentioned, he said he could only do my umbilical hernia repair but not the diastasis repair. I had my surgery 7 days ago. I still look the same imo. Idk how I feel about this. He also said that he also went ahead and repaired my diastasis. But again, I feel as though I look the same 😕

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        • Hi Precious! That’s so interesting…was your surgery laproscopic? As you saw my diastasis repair was VERY invasive and it was very clear to me that my abdominal muscles had been sewn back together–I couldn’t stand up straight for about three weeks! I could also tell the morning after surgery when my surgeon took my bandages off that my stomach muscles had been repaired because my stomach looked instantly flatter. I’d be interested to hear what type of surgery you had!

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          • You know what….I don’t even know what type of surgery it was. I just know I have two small incisions on my right side of the stomach….I know he placed a mesh in me & I’m assuming he sewed me up around my belly button bc my belly button is pretty much gone. I can only see partial of it unless it’s bc of the swelling. I can’t walk straight either and next Wednesday will be 2wks post surgery. I go in for my follow up on the 15th though. I will ask what this particular procedure was called and I hope it doesn’t take long for the swelling. Your before and after pictures is very clear of a difference whereas mines, it looks the same….

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            • I wonder if maybe he repaired a small part of your diastasis, but not all of it. Maybe he repaired the part near your hernia? How big was your diastasis? I hope your recovery goes well, I don’t think abdominal surgery is every easy, we use our core for everything!

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                  • Sooo I had my follow up. He said I’m doing good. He said I’m my swelling wouldn’t go down until about a month. Then I’d notice the transformation and notice he fixed my diastasis and obviously my hernia has been repaired. I asked if I still had a belly button. He chuckled and said yeah I just can’t see it bc of my swelling around it. So that’s my update. I’m satisfied. 🙂

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                    • that’s great to hear! the swelling definitely can make things look a little crazy down there 🙂 I’m glad to hear you had a good visit and things are going well! good luck with the rest of your recovery!

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                    • Sooo I have another follow-up on the 7th. I’m now able to stand up somewhat straight HOWEVER I’m still sore and have to raise up outta my bed sideways instead of normal straight up from laying on my back. I haven’t even bothered to try and lay on my stomach. I still can’t zip or button my jeans/work pants. Sometimes my stomach feels itchy. How long exactly did it take your soreness to go away? I forgot to add on my previous post that he did sew my muscles back together for the diastasis recti. But my stomach isn’t noticeably flat either…. starting to wonder was this all worth it…

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                    • Hang in there, I know the swelling can stick around for many months after surgery! All of your recovery description sounds very similar to mine, and I had some soreness for a good while, I can’t remember exactly but I’d say several months. My incision site still get itchy, and my abs still have some tightness when I stretch out all the way, but no soreness. I think you’ll keep feeling better and better, give it time. it’s a major surgery and everything we do involves our abs!! Having that big gap fixed is so good for your back, hips, and everything else!

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    • I found a general surgeon who uses the robotic method to fix the hernia and he will also fix the diastesis at the same time. I had wondered why a general surgeon wouldn’t fix both. I may have to pay some extra out of pocket for the additional repair but it will also be done with the robotic method . Scheduled 8/28 fingers crossed that it goes smooth.

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        • So I had my surgery on Monday 8/28 I had a general surgeon use the davinci robotic method to fix a small umbilical hernia I think he said the size of a quarter and a 8cm diastesis. He did put mesh in I believe it’s 12 cm x 12cm . I did have to spend one night in the hospital . But it was because I have asthma and the breathing tube was not my friend. Pain wise hasn’t been bad I have found sleeping on the couch the most comfortable. And I took stool softeners and magnesium to make sure I didn’t have any flow problems. My biggest issue is I am in Northern California and we have had a unusual heat wave. I have had a lot of leakage from my belly button but I heard that’s better than retaining it? I see doctor Tuesday . I will say that I sneezed today and almost passed out lol. So I’ve been taking Benadryl to make sure I don’t cough or sneeze . I went to Dr Gardiner in San Ramon. I see recovery being a lot longer than I expected but I really didn’t need the pain pills after day three .

          Hope that helps anyone who is having it soon. Wordgertie site was a huge help to me since there is little to information about the hernia and diastesis without the tummy tuck.

          Also my insurance paid for both I do have a copay but they didn’t deny the diastesis.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for the update! I’m so glad to hear your surgery went well, and it sounds like the recovery wasn’t too awful, woo hoo! It’s also great to see your insurance covered the diastasis repair. Happy healing and thanks for sharing your information with all of us 🙂

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  3. Hi, first off, you look great! I’m meeting with a plastic surgeon next month to discuss my options, my diastasis recto is over a 5 finger gap and it has caused so many problems and I’m just ready to feel better. I do have a question though, any reason why your surgeon chose to do a higher incision rather than below the pantry line?

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    • Hi Samantha, thank you! I feel your pain, it really is such a debilitating condition, in ways people can’t fully appreciate. How did your consult go? I felt a lot more empowered after finally meeting with a surgeon, I’m not sure why I waited so long! My incision was one of the few things I was unhappy about after surgery…I have a tattoo on my hip bone that I think she was trying to avoid, but I could honestly care less about it and wouldn’t have cared if she’d removed it lol. But when she marked me before surgery the incision line was much lower…i was surprised when I woke up and saw how high it ended up. I would just be sure to be very clear with your surgeon that a low incision is important to you, I wasn’t. I don’t really care too much, but it would have been nice to have had a discrete incision line. Good luck!!

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  4. Hi Abigail Ortiz, sorry I switched web hosts and many of my recent comments didn’t transfer over, I saw your question in my inbox and wanted to respond. Here’s your post and my response:

    Hi do you go to a general surgeon fir this problem or plastic surgeon?

    Hi Abigail! I consulted with a plastic surgeon and was told that most general surgeons will not perform an abdominoplasty–they’ll refer you to a PS. Since I also had a hernia repair, however, my Plastic surgeon needed to have a general surgeon assist on that part of the procedure. Hope that made sense!

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  5. Oh my goodness friend I have been out of the loop and didn’t realize you were dealing with such a huge surgery and recovery. I’m so sorry you had to go through that, but wow those pictures sure show what a need it was. I hope you are feeling better. Wish I could bring you some soup and cookies. Miss you!

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  6. You are one tough momma and such an inspiration! Here i am, not recovering from any surgery and barely able to get myself out the door to walk, much less run, bike and swim! 😂 you go girl, love reading your blog!

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    • Thanks mama K! I’ve been really careful to not overdo it–I definitely went into surgery with a healthy respect for how intense the procedure is!

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    • Thanks Angelica! I hated that this condition is so common but there’s a serious lack of information out there about it. Keep me updated on your DR!

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