Surgical repair of diastasis recti abdominis provides long-term improvement of abdominal core function and quality of life: a 3-year follow-up

BJS Open. 2021 Sep 6;5(5):zrab085. doi: 10.1093/bjsopen/zrab085.


Background: Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) is a condition affecting many post-partum women. The aim of this study was to evaluate long-term results of surgical repair of DRA in a cohort of post-partum women.

Methods: Sixty post-partum women with DRA and training-resistant core dysfunctions were included. Surgical repair was performed with suture plication of the linea alba. Abdominal core function was evaluated with the abdominal trunk function protocol (ATFP) including a self-report questionnaire and seven functional tests. Urinary incontinence and quality of life were evaluated with the Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI-6), the Incontinence Impact Questionnaire (IIQ-7) and the SF-36 questionnaire. Follow-up was performed at 1 and 3 years after surgery.

Results: Response rate at the 3-year follow-up was 86.7 per cent for the disability rating index (DRI) questionnaire; and 71.7 per cent for the ATFP, UDI-6, IIQ-7 and SF-36 questionnaires. All DRI parameters were improved (P < 0.001) after 3 years of follow-up compared with preoperative values. The functional tests in the ATFP showed an improvement in core muscle strength and stability (P < 0.001), back muscle strength (P < 0.001) and abdominal muscle strength (P = 0.002) compared to preoperative values as well as an improvement of core muscle strength and stability compared with the 1-year follow-up values (P = 0.003). UDI-6 and IIQ-7 results were improved (P < 0.001 and P = 0.004) compared with preoperative values and showed consistent values compared with the 1-year follow-up (P = 0.09 and P = 1.0). Quality of life measured with SF-36 was improved compared with preoperative values and showed consistent values compared with the 1-year follow-up.

Conclusion: The functional improvement of surgical reconstruction of the DRA persisted for 3 years in this series of post-partum women with DRA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Core
  • Diastasis, Muscle*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rectus Abdominis / surgery