Gone are the days when the scope of cosmetic surgery procedures was limited to a simple nose job or a little complicated boob job. Now, there is a cosmetic procedure for almost every part of your body. Surprising but true. You may have no idea but there is even a surgical procedure that aims at enhancing the aesthetics of your belly button and it is extremely high in demand! Though the shape of this highly important cosmetic feature of the stomach is determined at birth, it can alter over time due to a number of factors. If your belly button has also been showing undesired changes, you can restore it or improve upon it to make it look like totally new. Keep reading to know the ins and outs of what the belly button surgery entails.
A Brief Background
Let us start with a brief background check. What exactly is the ‘belly button’? Well, the belly button or ‘umbilicus’ is the scar formed in the body as the doctor cuts the ‘umbilical cord’ at the birth. When you were growing in your mother’s womb, this cord not only fed you but also kept your skin attached to the underlying muscle. Hence, when cut during the birth, it leaves the scar either inside or outside the hole based on genetic factors like the way it was attached to the tummy muscles as well as the elasticity of both the skin and the muscles.
Typically, the scar is formed inside the hole and called an ‘innie’. But if it sticks out, it is called an ‘outie’. The belly button surgery came into serious consideration when an increasing number of women started seeking a perfectly shaped belly button by turning an ‘outie’ into an ‘innie’ or reducing the size of the hole a little for a less prominent look. Today, it has become the hottest cosmetic surgery trend in Americans with the rise of belly button piercing or navel-exposing fashion (1).
What Is A Belly Button Surgery?
A belly button surgery, also known as ‘umbilicoplasty’, is a low-risk cosmetic procedure that is usually considered by women for modifying the appearances of their belly buttons or navels. Earlier, it was a treatment option for umbilical hernias in infants. But now, this surgery is performed to create a more aesthetically pleasing look by changing the shape and size of the belly button. Though there could be a variety of reasons to alter the belly button, giving it a little more vertical shape from the horizontal one is the most common one known so far. The term ‘umbilicoplasty’ is broadly used for belly button surgery, umbilical hernia repair, and a classic tummy tuck. Therefore, the belly button surgery can be performed as a standalone procedure or in combination with a tummy tuck or lower body lift or any other abdominal surgery like liposuction (2).
Why Is It Done?
Different people have different reasons for having their belly buttons reshaped. Those are as follows (3):
- Turning an ‘outie’ into an ‘innie’ or bringing the hidden button out from the folds of flesh or wrinkles.
- Getting a younger-looking circular shape by fixing issues like too large, too small, deflated, widened, elongated, one-sided, or inverted belly buttons.
- Restoring the belly button that has become shorter, stretched, or protruded due to pregnancy.
- Correcting herniated belly buttons to get rid of the little lump sticking out next to the hole.
- Revisioning the scar caused by an old or rejected belly button piercing.
- Repairing misshapen belly buttons after a dramatic weight loss or weight gain.
- Creating a totally new navel when there is no belly button at all or a poorly shaped one since birth or due to previous abdominal surgeries.
Any adult individual of good overall health, who is not happy with the shape, size, or appearance of the belly button, can be considered as the right candidate for this surgery. However, she must not be prone to keloid scars or have a history of healing issues with past surgical treatments. She should also not plan for a pregnancy ever in the future. An ideal belly button surgery candidate also needs to stop smoking, drinking, and intaking certain medications as well as supplements.
The Surgical Procedure
- You are administered either local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia to ensure the maximum comfort during the procedure.
- Then, your surgeon makes a small incision inside or very close to the belly button so that it remains hidden after the surgery.
- Next, he eliminates the extra part of the skin around your belly button or hangs a small patch of abdominal skin over it based on your unique requirements. The angles can also be trimmed in order to give a higher or lower appearance as desired.
- Finally, he makes it secure by using dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches and applies a light dressing.
A standalone belly button surgery takes around 1 hour to get over. However, it can be longer if combined with other procedures.
Though you can return home almost immediately following the procedure, there will be mild pain and discomfort for the first few days. Your physician may recommend painkillers to control these. The procedure can also come with very little swelling and bruising. But all those will subside in a couple of days. Just make sure that you keep your belly button area clean and dry.
Recovery And Downtime
The recovery from a belly button surgery is fairly quick and there is minimal downtime only. You can resume light activities in a day or two while complete recovery may take a week or so. If there is a visible scar, expect it to fade away within a few months.
Risks And Complications
This is a very safe surgery. But like any other surgery, it also carries some risks. These are nausea, dizziness, severe bleeding, infections, persistent pain, numbness, excessive scarring (broad and thick), edema, asymmetry, anesthesia-related issues, etc.
As long as you will be able to maintain stable body weight, the results of your belly button surgery will last.
The average cost of a belly button surgery procedure can range from $2,500 and $5,000.
- “Umbilicoplasty or Navel, Belly Button Surgery Information”, ConsultingRoom.com
- “Why Belly Button Plastic Surgery Procedures Are Trending Right Now”, Allure.com
- “Is Umbilicoplasty Right For You?”, Healthline.com