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Umbilicoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is designed to improve the appearance of an unsightly bellybutton. This procedure can be performed alone, or as part of an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Umbilicoplasty is an increasingly popular procedure sought out by both women and men.

attractive woman body on white backgroun

Causes of Cosmetic Belly Button Problems

Scar tissue often creates excess skin in the belly button area, compromising the overall appearance of your abdomen. This tissue can be present from childhood or from a piercing later in life.
The belly button is at the location where the umbilical cord enters a developing baby. After delivery, the opening through which the cord entered usually closes tightly within a few weeks or months. If it does not, a hernia is left. This gives the appearance of an "outie". In most people who have an umbilical hernia, it doesn’t cause a problem and may not even be noticed. However, the opening can entrap abdominal contents at any time which can create a medical problem.
If a hernia is present, especially in a young patient, it should generally be repaired. Hernia repairs are considered medically necessary procedures, so that part of an umbilicoplasty is usually covered by insurance.
Even without a hernia, the separation of the umbilical cord can leave a large amount of thick, adherent scar tissue.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

If you are unsatisfied with the size and shape of your belly button or are unhappy with changes to its appearance as a result of pregnancy, weight gain or an umbilical hernia, you would likely benefit from umbilicoplasty.

So long as you are in good health and have realistic expectations, then you are probably a good candidate for belly button surgery.

However, your medical and surgical history does come into play. For example, if you have a significant hernia in the belly button area, a shaping procedure is unlikely to improve the appearance of your belly button – in fact, it might make it worse.

To determine whether or not umbilicoplasty is a good option for you, you will need to meet with a surgeon for an evaluation. During this initial consultation the  surgeon will:

  • Review the belly button surgery options

  • Discuss the potential risks

  • Ask you about your aesthetic goals

  • Lay out in detail how the surgery is carried out and what to expect before, during, and after

  • Discuss the cost as well as payment options

  • Answer all of your questions

Your surgeon will likely ask you to provide details about your medical history, alcohol and tobacco use, and a list of any medications, supplements or vitamins you take

The Umbilicoplasty Procedure

Umbilicoplasty surgery requires Dr. Zambrano to make a very small incision within your belly button. This incision will not have sutures which have to be removed. Any overlying excess skin and scar tissue will then be removed to produce a more natural-looking shape. If there is no hernia, only scarring or loose skin, the umbilicoplasty procedure can be performed under local anesthesia in the office.

After surgery, Dr. Zambrano will provide you with a special dressing that will help maintain the new shape while your body heals. You can return to your basic normal activities on the same day of your surgery, including showering. Umbilicoplasty produces an "innie" bellybutton for a better appearance in swimsuits and even in regular clothing.

Realistic Expectations

As with any plastic surgery procedure, realistic expectations are paramount to a successful result. We counsel all of our patients on two things: what we can accomplish and what we cannot accomplish.And we make sure that they understand the limitations of this type of procedure. Our patients are generally very happy with their results and experience very little downtime or discomfort.”
Dr. Zambrano also advises patients to be aware that the belly button changes once a new opening is made, and the new “normal” depends in part on how things heal.

Potential Risks

Umbilicoplasty is considered to be a very safe procedure. That being said, the most common risks include the following:

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Poor scar formation

  • Asymmetries

The biggest risk with this procedure is noticeable scarring. 

After the Surgery

Because belly button surgery is quite straightforward and relatively painless, you will be able to go home almost immediately following the procedure. In many cases, dissolvable stitches are used, so there is no need to remove them. If non-dissolvable sutures are used, they will be removed 7 to 10 days after.

Because there is so little bruising, swelling, or discomfort associated with umbilicoplasty, most people are able to return to work and everyday activities the same day or the day after surgery. Healing begins immediately and is usually quick. Any scarring should fade within a few months.

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