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Divarication of rectus abdominis muscles

The rectus abdominis muscles should meet in the midline at the linea alba. Superior to the umbilicus, some people have a congenital defect that results in a wider gap between them. As a result, when a patient flexes the abdominal muscles as when doing a sit-up, the rectus muscles spread apart (divaricate). The divarication is made more obvious when the patient coughs or lifts their head off the bed when supine. Compare epigastric hernia.

Divarication is common in obese men. It can be surgically corrected, although such an operation would be almost entirely for cosmetic purposes and not of any functional value.

Divarication is also very common in infants and children. It is NOT due to a congenital defect; there is no muscle in the midline. The rectus abdominus muscles lie either side of the midline and at the midline is the linea alba which is the confluence of the fibrous sheath (within which the muscle lies) from each side.In children it cane be quite wide as the recti divaricate. As children grow this usually resolves. This condition is not a congenital ABNORMALITY; it does not cause symptoms; it is not dangerous and does not require any treatment.

Divarication of the rectus can be a serious matter in pregnancy. Although it may not affect the first child a subsequent child may be at risk of a transverse lie a complication which makes it necessary for the mother to have prompt caesarean section when labour starts.--Dalegirl (Dalegirl) 22:53, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

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