IMR Press / CEOG / Volume 49 / Issue 5 / DOI: 10.31083/j.ceog4905111
Open Access Review
Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA): review of risk factors, diagnostic methods, conservative and surgical treatment
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1 Department of General Surgery, Regional Specialist Hospital, 42-218 Częstochowa, Poland
2 Department of General, Oncologic, Metabolic and Emergency Surgery, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 31-109 Kraków, Poland
*Correspondence: (Leszek Sułkowski)
Academic Editors: Laura Avagliano and Tengiz Charkviani
Clin. Exp. Obstet. Gynecol. 2022, 49(5), 111;
Submitted: 30 November 2021 | Revised: 19 December 2021 | Accepted: 21 February 2022 | Published: 10 May 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) is an acquired condition defined as a thinning, widening and protruding of the linea alba following an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. The aim of this review is to provide insight in the pathophysiology, risk factors, diagnostic methods and treatment modalities of DRA. DRA occurs in both women and in men, however, it is extraordinarily common and even expected condition affecting over half of women during pregnancy and one third 12 months after childbirth. There is no consensus of risk factors for DRA. Proposed risk factors include multiparity, maternal age and high age, caesarean section, macrosomia, multiple pregnancy, ethnicity, heavy lifting, body mass index (BMI) and diabetes. To diagnose the presence of DRA and its severity the interrecti distance (IRD) is measured. Palpation, caliper, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) are applied to measure IRD and exclude concurrent hernias. DRA is mostly treated conservatively by physiotherapists. However, physiotherapy is unlikely to prevent or completely treat DRA. Over four fifth of patients are unsatisfied with the results of training programmes and opted for surgical intervention. Thereby the main purpose of physical training is to restore function, not to reduce the DRA. Physiotherapy may be an alternative for those who cannot undergo surgery. In case if severe cosmetic and functional impairment patients are referred for surgery. Patients with severe symptoms benefit more from surgery. Surgery is challenging since guidelines almost do not exist. Plication and mesh reinforcement are recommended by most authors, however whether it should be open or laparoscopic remains debatable.

diastasis recti abdominis (DRA)
abdominal wall reconstruction
midline reconstruction
midline plication
Fig. 1.
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