The general definition for diastasis is the separation of parts that are normally joined together. An example would be a group of the abdominal muscles that tend to separate during pregnancy. The abdominal region has four muscles groups, and the rectus abdominis are the muscles closer to the skin’s surface that run vertically down the center of the stomach from the breastbone to the pubic bone. These two muscles are connected to each other by thin connective tissue. When someone has a “washboard stomach” or a “six-pack” these are the muscles that are visible just under the skin. When the rectus abdominis separate, the connective tissue binding them together becomes thinner and the muscles move farther away from each other. The extent of the separation determines how severe the diastasis is. The space between the muscles allows bulging and fullness in the abdomen. The most common cause of diastasis is postpartum pregnancy, and multiple pregnancies can make the diastasis worse. For example, one might hear some women say that they began showing much earlier with second pregnancy, and this is because the muscles have moved further apart and there is more laxity. Besides looking good, the muscles of the abdominal region form a core that is important in protecting the internal organs as well as supporting the pelvis and lower back. This is why gym instructors urge people to work their core. When a patient has diastasis, exercise and diet will not make the protruding belly go away, and this is frustrating for many patients. The bulging is actually a structural issue that can be repaired by a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). The tummy tuck usually takes about three hours and is performed under general anesthesia. During the tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Eisemann does what you cannot do in the gym – he sutures the abdominal muscles together, making them tighter and yielding a flatter stomach and slimmer waistline. Dr. Eisemann recommends that female patients make sure that they are finished having children before having a tummy tuck. The Eisemann Plastic Surgery Center can answer more of your questions regarding abdominoplasty surgery, so feel free to contact our office for a consultation.