A divarication is a pronounced ridge of weakened tissue that runs vertically from the breast bone to the pubic bone. It is especially prominent when the abdominal muscles are tensed. (when attempting to stand up from lying) The central muscles of the abdominal wall are usually closely opposed straps.
A divarication occurs anytime a patient develops enlargement of the abdomen:
- after pregnancy
- weight gain
- fluid in the abdomen from liver disease.
Swelling of the abdomen causes the muscles to separate and a bulge will occur between them. A divarication is not a true hernia as there is no risk that bowel can get caught in this type of weakening. It is quite common however, that a divarication can occur in conjunction with an umbilical hernia. Because a divarication by itself is not dangerous it is usually not repaired. If it occurs with an umbilical hernia, there is often a need to repair it.
After child birth, many women do not like the appearance of a divarication and may opt to have the weakness repaired by a plastic surgeon in conjunction with a tummy tuck (removal of excess skin of the lower abdomen and repositioning of the bellybutton). This is a major operation and should not be taken lightly.