Clinical significance of diastasis recti: Literature review and awareness amongst health care professionals

Louise L. Blankensteijn, Miriam Hockx, Margriet Mullender, Mark-Bram Bouman, Wynand B. W. H. Melenhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: A variety of physical complaints have been related to chronic diastasis recti (DR), including back pain, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence. However, its clinical significance is still subject of debate, leaving many patients to feel unheard when experiencing symptoms. This study aims to assess current knowledge on DR, its potential treatments, and the awareness of this condition amongst involved health care professionals. Methods: A literature review was performed to analyze current available knowledge on DR and its treatment. Then, a survey was conducted to investigate the awareness on DR amongst general practitioners, midwives, gynecologists, general surgeons, and plastic surgeons. Results: Over 500 health care professionals completed our survey, including 46 general practitioners, 39 midwives, 249 gynecologists, 33 general surgeons, and 74 plastic surgeons. Although the majority of respondents (>78% in all groups) reported to encounter DR in daily practice, opinions differed markedly on most significant symptoms, associated physical complaints, best first referral for treatment, and best treatment modality. Conclusion: Current literature is not unanimous on the relation between DR and physical complaints and on its most suitable treatment. This incongruity is corroborated by the variety of responses from involved health care professionals in our survey. More clinical data are needed to provide clarity on this issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-446
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • Abdominal wall
  • Diastasis recti
  • Physiotherapy
  • Plastic surgery

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