Belly Button Surgery (Umbilicoplasty)

Belly button plastic surgery is sought by individuals who desire a new navel appearance or need hernia repair. Navel surgery is also known as umbilicoplasty and is usually performed under local anesthesia. This cosmetic procedure only requires small incisions to remove excess skin that causes a belly button bulge. Umbilicoplasty can correct navel changes such as loose skin created by extreme weight loss or those brought on by pregnancy.

Belly Button Surgery Overview - 1086

The Skinny


Plastic surgery procedures on the navel can be performed for different reasons:

  • To repair a hernia
  • To reshape the belly button
  • To make the navel smaller by removing excess skin
  • To transform outward poking navels into inward navels
  • To correct issues created from previous abdominal surgeries
  • As part of a tummy tuck or a larger mommy makeover procedure
  • To fix damage from stretched belly-button piercings, especially after pregnancy

Belly button surgery can greatly improve the overall appearance of the abdominal region. Plastic surgeons are performing increasing amounts of belly button surgeries. There has been a greater emphasis being placed on the look of the belly button due in part to social media. The popularity of exercise and midriff exposure is closely related to the rise of this surgical phenomenon that is most common among women.

The Specifics

An "Outie" Belly Button or a Hernia?

The appearance of the belly button might be largely determined at birth or shortly after when the umbilical cord falls off in the wake of being severed from the placenta. However, it should be noted that an outward navel could occur later in life and represent an umbilical hernia. It is a condition wherein abdomen tissue has extended into the belly button.

Umbilical Hernia Repair

Belly button surgery procedures should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, whether as part of a tummy tuck procedure or a standalone surgery. An experienced plastic surgeon can recognize how to enhance the overall appearance of the abdomen and determine if an umbilical hernia repair is needed.

Although concerns about the aesthetics of the belly button may seem superficial to some, when an outward projection is caused by a hernia, addressing it via surgery is recommended. Umbilical hernias should be repaired, especially if the abdominal wall weak spot is causing other medical issues.

Belly Button Surgery Cost

Expenses for navel surgery can range widely, based on the experience and geographic location of the plastic surgeon. Larger cities such as New York may be accompanied by higher prices. However, the cost of hernia surgery is often covered by health insurance, so check with your medical provider. Hernia repairs are often viewed as medically necessary procedures. If the belly button surgery is deemed to be a strictly cosmetic procedure, the cost can range from $2,500 to $5,000 - and swell from $8,000 to $12,000 as part of a tummy tuck procedure.

Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates for umbilicoplasty include healthy individuals who may not like the appearance of their belly buttons. Based on issues with the size, shape, or excess skin surrounding the navel, initial consultation with a plastic surgeon can reveal options for your belly button surgery. An experienced physician will be able to determine if navel surgery alone will rectify the problem, or if additional procedures such as an abdominoplasty or liposculpture should be a part of the treatment plan.

Umbilicoplasty requires patients to be in good physical health to undergo the procedure. Patients should hold on to realistic expectations regarding the level of improvement the navel area will experience after surgery.

Not Recommended For & Contraindications

Patients who are not eligible for belly button surgery or laparoscopic hernia surgery repair may include the following:

  • Pregnant women
  • Obese individuals
  • Patients who cannot tolerate local or general anesthesia
  • People with bleeding disorders
  • Individuals who require blood thinning medications to stop blood clots
  • Folks with excess scar tissue from previous abdominal surgeries
  • Severe lung disease patients who cannot abide by the carbon dioxide used to inflate the abdomen during certain surgeries

Pros & Cons

There are plenty of benefits to undergoing navel surgery to beautify the stomach region. Belly button surgery has come a long way since the days of procedures that created unnaturally wide or shallow navels. Advances in the surgical techniques used during modern day belly button procedures help to correct umbilical deformities while making the belly button appear more uniform and attractive. Scars can be hidden within the navel, and treatments involving merely the removal of excess skin are relatively straightforward.

The disadvantages of belly button surgery may include the expense of the procedure. Additionally, simple surgeries to remove excess navel skin may transform into more complex procedures if a hernia is discovered that needs repair. In such cases, the recovery period might be extended.

Side Effects & Risks

Side effects from belly button surgery can occur, with serious complications being rare when the procedure is performed by a knowledgeable board-certified plastic surgeon. However, patients that experience any of the following complications after navel surgery should immediately seek medical attention:

  • Fevers greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Chills
  • Severe and intense pain
  • Bad odor from the surgical site
  • Stomach cramps
  • Increased draining of fluids from incisions
  • No bowel movements for three days

Risks with belly button surgery and laparoscopic hernia repair include the following:

  • Normal risks associated with general anesthesia
  • Rare cases of infection
  • Numbness
  • The return of a hernia
  • Bleeding
  • Scar tissue
  • Suture or mesh infection
  • Fluid in the abdominal muscles
  • Nerve, organ, blood vessel, or bladder injury

Belly Button Surgery Recovery

A simple umbilicoplasty surgery may last from one to two hours, with only a local anesthetic used. However, complex abdominal surgery may require general anesthesia and last up to four hours. The recovery period from a belly button procedure may last as short as 24 hours up to two weeks, based on whether a standalone navel surgery was received, or more extensive surgery, such as a tummy tuck.

During recovery, patients may experience bruising, swelling, and minor discomfort. Patients can typically resume work, showering, and other light activities within 1-3 days after their procedure. Special garments may be provided or recommended to help the treated area during recovery. A bulky cotton dressing may be worn for five days post surgery.

Recovery from laparoscopic hernia repair surgery involves a one- to two-week healing period, with generally less discomfort than open hernia surgery. After four weeks, strenuous exercise can be resumed.

Belly Button Before & After Care

Before belly button surgery, patients should consider scheduling their procedures during seasons other than summer, giving themselves plenty of time to heal before swimming in pools or oceans. It is prefered that belly button surgery patients wait at least three or four weeks before immersing themselves in water to allow the incisions to fully heal.

Before and after outpatient surgery to repair a hernia that involves general anesthesia, special instructions will be provided, such as avoiding food and liquids before surgery. It may take several hours for the anesthesia to wear off after surgery.

The Takeaway

Conclusion: The Final Results of Your New Navel

Getting the belly button you desire starts with discovering the best plastic surgeon to help facilitate the process. It is essential to find a plastic surgeon with board certifications from recognized organizations such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and excellent patient reviews when searching for medical advice. An adept surgeon will understand how to alter the navel based upon the patient's wishes and individual needs. Although belly button surgery will not suddenly transform the abdomen into the slimmed, contoured stomach of your dreams, it can enhance the overall appearance of the navel. Be sure your surgeon understands your individual needs and goals.

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