Our clinic works according to the highest standards set by the European Union. This helps to guarantee the quality of medical service.
Our clinic has one of the biggest plastic surgery patient groups in Europe. In this group more than 20.000 of our past and future patients tell about their experience, share useful recommendations and transformation photos. You can join the group here.
Everyone in our clinic speaks English, including customer service desk, nurses, assistants and the surgeon.
Our clinic is the only clinic in Europe that offers customer service in 10 languages, among which English, Swedish, Danish, German, Spanish, Russian, Polish, French, Norwegian and Lithuanian.
2-3 hour regular flights operate from all main airports in the UK & Ireland. Lithuania is closer than you thought. You can find the list of direct flights here. Please note that airlines constantly add new flights and new destinations, therefore feel free to contact us if you need help choosing the flight that suits you best.
Lithuania has been a part of the EU and NATO since 2004. Lithuania has one of the fastest growing economies in the whole region and the second fastest internet speed in the world. Lithuanian medical schools have trained many medical professionals who are highly appreciated and employed by many foreign hospitals, among which hospitals in the UK.
What is abdominal muscle diastasis? How to identify it?
Abdominal muscle diastasis (diastasis “linea albae” or rectal abdominal muscle) is a condition referring to an abnormal separation of the abdominal wall muscles. One of the main core muscles is the rectus abdominis muscle, a so-called “six-pack”. The abdominal muscle is comprised of two parallel muscles that are separated in the middle by a strand of connective tissue. During pregnancy, the connective tissue stretches and the two sides of the muscles separate. For most women, the abdominal muscles return to their previous location right after pregnancy, but for others, the muscles stay separated, creating a saggy look of the lower belly.
The main complaint in patients with abdominal muscle separation is the poor shape of the abdomen and pain or discomfort in the abdominal area after physical activity. Patients notice a visible gap between the two muscles that are especially apparent when laying down, coughing, or laughing. Lower back pain and constipation are also common complaints due to low abdominal muscle strength.
Who is a good candidate for abdominal wall reconstruction?
To be considered for a surgical abdominal wall repair a patient should have a gap of at least 2 cm, measured 3 cm in the midline abdomen above the belly button. The best postoperative results can be reached when diastasis of abdominal muscle is under 5 cm.
How can abdominal muscle diastasis be repaired?
Abdominal wall separation can be repaired conservatively or with surgical repair. Non-surgical methods include weight loss and exercise to improve muscle strength. However, conservative methods have not been shown to provide encouraging results.
The most common treatment method that provides complete symptomatic relief is abdominal wall reconstruction surgery. Surgery restores the integrity of the abdominal wall so that it can protect the internal organs and provide good support for the spine. Abdominal muscle diastasis can be repaired in conjunction with other cosmetic surgeries, like a tummy tuck or a mommy makeover.
What is SCOLA method?
SCOLA (Subcutaneous Onlay Laparoscopic Approach) is a surgical abdominal wall repair technique that is shown to be a safe and effective approach to repair abdominal muscle diastasis or umbilical hernias. To perform SCOLA, a surgeon makes a 3-centimetre incision above the pubic bone and then uses a laparoscope (a tiny camera) and other surgical instruments to reach the abdominal muscles underneath the skin. Usually to repair diastasis it is enough to use slowly absorbable sutures. Sometimes the special mesh could be placed on the rectal abdominal muscles if it is necessary (in case of large diastasis or poor condition of patient’s tissue). Once the surgeon reaches the muscles under the skin, he closes the gap by placing several sutures to bring the two muscles together.
Advantages of SCOLA method
Preparation for the surgery
As with any other surgeries, preoperative preparation requires an in-depth patient examination. For the first visit, patients should bring all their medical documents, including the files of the previous surgeries and the list of all the prescribed medications. During the initial check-up, the doctor examines the abdomen by palpating it to determine the approximate size of the diastasis. Diastasis recti is identified when a spindle-like bulge is apparent in the center of the abdomen and it gets bigger when abdominal muscles are engaged.
Additional tests prior to surgery include an ultrasound to measure the exact size of the gap and rule out hernia, appropriate laboratory studies, chest x-rays and ECG (Electrocardiogram) for patients older than 35 years.
The surgeon will also discuss patient’s previous medical history, any ongoing diseases, and drugs (aspirin, supplements or any hormonal medication) that are being taken by the patient.
Before surgery, patients should avoid lifting heavy objects, doing sit-ups and crunches. Patients should also learn how to get out of bed, cough and even laugh to avoid putting strain on the muscles. It is recommended to become aware of the posture and engage the abdominal muscles to maintain a straight back when sitting and standing.
At least 4 weeks before and after surgery patients must not smoke cigarettes or vape as these both deliver nicotine that can cause smoking-related blood clotting which may result in severe complications, like poor wound healing, infections, and seroma formation. Patients should also stop taking blood-thinning medications 5 to 7 days before surgery.
On the day of the surgery, patients should arrive without jewellery, nail polish, or make-up, and wear loose-fitting clothes. Patients must not eat anything at least 8 hours before surgery, otherwise, the surgery might be postponed.
How is the surgery performed?
SCOLA is performed under general anaesthesia and takes about 1.5 hours to complete. A surgeon makes a 3-centimeter incision in the lower part of the abdomen just above the pubic bone. Then follows the insertion of a trocar which is used to fill the inside of the abdomen with CO2 gas. Using gas to blow the belly up is a common step in laparoscopic surgeries and it allows the surgeon more space to perform the complex procedure. The laparoscope (a tiny camera) and other surgical instruments help to repair the muscle structure. Once the laparoscope is in place, the surgeon inspects the abdomen and puts in special sutures to bring the two sides of the abdominal muscle together. Sometimes after diastasis repair with suture, the special mesh could be placed above the muscle. It depends on the width of diastasis and the patient’s tissue condition. At the end of the surgery, the surgeon places the drains (sometimes it is not necessary), sutures the incision, and places a bandage to cover the surgical site.
Recovery after abdominal wall reconstruction
Drainage at the end of the operation allows the removal of body fluids such as seroma and blood. The drain is withdrawn on the second or third day after the surgery. In some cases, the drain may be left longer (1 to 2 weeks) if high fluid secretion persists. While in the clinic, pain is controlled with intravenous medications and upon discharge from the hospital patients are prescribed pain killers, like naproxen or ibuprofen. At least 2 to 4 weeks are needed to rest post-op and it may take 1 to 2 weeks to return to a sedentary job. Even though the results are visible immediately, patients should expect swelling to persist for about 6 weeks and the end results to finalize in 3 to 12 months. To support the core, patients should wear a compression garment for 3 to 4 weeks and always bend at the knees when picking something up from so to avoid straining the back.
We will advise you on travel arrangements including flights to and from Lithuania. We will take care of airport pick up and drop off and arrange a pleasant stay in a comfortable hotel at a convenient location. We will be there for you 24/7 if needed.