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Joanna, 40, had an abdominoplasty to fix her separated stomach muscles

When Joanna was operated for ileus, it resulted in separated stomach muscles, a bulging belly and a hernia that made her feel really bad about how she looked. To return to her old self, she had an abdominoplasty and a liposuction. This is the story about her tummy tuck with before and after pictures.

Consultant plastic surgeon Colin Riordan at the Aesthetic Institute in Dublin, Ireland explains what rectus diastasis is, and how plastic surgery, a tummy tuck, can be a solution to it.

”After pregnancy or heavy weight loss, you can be afflicted with a permanent separation between the straight stomach muscles, the rectus diastasis. This can cause discomfort and pain, result in a weakened tummy and back as well as a bulging belly.

With exercise, you can strengthen your muscles, but you can never restore a rectus diastasis. This can only be done with an abdominoplasty.

In Joanna’s case, the reason for her rectus diastasis was a heavy weightloss, continuous stomach operations, intestinal obstruction and hernia, that resulted in cicatrization and rectus diastasis. After her tummy tuck, Joanna has regained her physical function and now has her body back.”


Joanna tells her story:

“In February 2012 I went to the emergency room with intense stomach pain. It turned out to be ileus, and I was operated right then and there. They opened me up from the pubic bone, alongside the belly button and a bit above it. The scar healed and my tummy was transformed into something like a two-piece morel with separated muscles. It was asymmetrical and had no belly button. I was training 3-5 days a week, and was pretty happy with the rest of my body. Only the belly made me feel bad about myself. As if that wasn’t enough, I had an incisional hernia that made me look as if I was 7 months pregnant.

More trouble followed operations

February 2014, I was operated for the hernia, and that didn’t make my belly look any nicer. I contacted the surgeon that had operated on me and asked it they could fix what they had caused. But they found that it was my problem if I was unhappy with the result, not theirs. In context, I have a lot of other scars on my belly, stretch marks from pregnancies and scars from a large back surgery. These marks are a part of me and my life, while the scar from the ileus was a forced deformity that had a serious impact on my self esteem.

I couldn’t get any help, and started to obstruct myself from everyday life. I was wearing slimming tops under my other shirts and even when I was on the beach and at home by my own pool. I continued to exercise at the gym, but I couldn’t work out as hard as I wanted to, since I was afraid the incisional hernia would open up again. Running was out of the question, since it hurt my scar.

An abdominoplasty was the solution

I started to search the web for people who might have had the same misfortune as I, but I couldn’t find any pictures that looked like my tummy. Right then and there, I decided to take the matter into my own hands. I looked at the websites for different clinics, compared the before and after pictures, and finally called the Aesthetic Institute for a consultation.

My greatest concern was that the doctor was going to tell me than my tummy was a hopeless case that could be done nothing about. But at the appointment, dr Riordan examined my tummy and told me that I definitely could have an abdominoplasty. He was also going to do a liposuction of the waist for a better result. The surgery was booked and the waiting started. I continued my ordinary exercise up until the operation day, since I was told my recovery should benefit from this.

Now it’s about five months since I had my tummy tuck, and I am really happy with the result. I haven’t just got a nice looking tummy, I also have a whole new belly button! After the abdominoplasty, I didn’t exercise for three months, since I wanted everything to heal properly. Today, I work out almost as hard as before. The recovery period was quite tough, and my tummy hurt real bad some days – but the same way as the pain during childbirth, it was worth every minute of it.”

Joanna’s pictures from before and after her abdominoplasty:


Contact us at The Aesthetic Institute in Dublin, Ireland if you want to know more about how abdominoplasty can be a solution for you.


Download our free guide: Abdominoplasty – how does it work?