Though everyone has a bellybutton, they may appear dissimilar and many plastic surgeons can work to change the look of a bellybutton, either on its own or as part of a body contouring
The bellybutton, or navel, is created by the shedding of the umbilical cord following birth. The tube that once supplied all of our nutrients within the womb falls away as babies are forced to rely on their own mouths, stomachs, and lungs. As Cari Nierenberg discusses on The Body Odd
, the bellybutton is one of our least understood body parts, both strange and commonplace.
Cosmetic surgery for bellybuttons is rare, but it does occur. The bellybutton can change shape after weight gain or pregnancy, which may cause some people to be dissatisfied with its new shape or size.
Others will pursue the surgery following their lifelong dislike of their “outies.” While surgery to convert an innie to an outie is an option, Dr. Curtis Cetrulo, Jr. says that he has never encountered someone who wanted that performed. Bellybutton reconstruction surgery requires local anesthesia and has few side effects beyond some soreness and swelling.
However, the majority of umbilicoplasties will typically occur in conjunction with another surgery, such as a tummy tuck
or umbilical hernia repair
. The bellybutton often has a unique role in tummy tuck surgery:
- The bellybutton must be isolated from the surrounding skin, so that it stands on a stalk of tissue.
- Excess skin is removed and a new hole is created for the bellybutton.
- The bellybutton is incorporated into the hole and retains its natural position on the abdomen.
The surgeon may perform some cosmetic adjustments to the bellybutton during the surgery, based on the patient’s desires.