Belly button reshaping or umbilicoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure that changes the size, shape or position of the bellybutton. The procedure is also known as bellybutton rejuvenation.

Fast Facts

  • This procedure is popular among both men and women who are unhappy about the appearance, size or position of their bellybuttons.
  • Mainly your genes determine the shape and look of a bellybutton at birth, but also by the way the doctor cut your umbilical cord at birth.
  • Bellybutton re-shaping on it’s own can be performed under a local anesthetic to numb the abdominal area. Some surgeons also give sedatives to make you relax.
  • Expect a light dressing to be applied immediately after the operation.  Dissolvable stitches are commonly used; minimising return visits for stitch removal.

This procedure is popular among both men and women who are unhappy about the appearance, size or position of their belly buttons. It has been trending considerably recently and gaining even more in popularity as people hear about it. If the appearance of your belly button bothers you, wearing swimming trunks, swimsuits, short tops and low cut jeans might make you self-conscious. You might feel uncomfortable being intimate, having piercings or, if your belly button protrudes, even wearing tight clothes.

The belly button or umbilicus is the scar from the umbilical cord that connected each of us to our mothers while we were in the womb. Its shape is determined by how the skin is attached to the underlying muscle. Usually the scar is left inside a hole once the umbilical cord is cut away, making the belly button an “innie”. If, however, the belly button sticks out, as it does in some people, it is often referred to as an “outie”.

What is belly button reshaping surgery?

Mainly, your genes determine the shape and look of your belly button at birth, but also by the way the doctor cut your umbilical cord. Other than surgery, there is little that can be done to fix an unsightly belly button.

The height of the belly button is also a matter determined by nature. Some people feel their belly buttons are either too high or too low, making the body and torso look disproportionate. Belly button surgery can move it to any position you desire.

Belly button surgery can be performed on its own or as part of a tummy tuck procedure. It can also be combined with liposuction to improve body contours. Surgery on the belly button alone is usually performed on those who have lost a lot of weight or are unhappy about their belly buttons. When performed as part of a tummy tuck procedure, the size, shape and location can be changed while the overall stomach wall is being strengthened.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), over 2,100 umbilicoplasties without a tummy tuck were performed in 2005 in the US.

Reasons for choosing to have your belly button reshaped

People opt for belly button reshaping surgery for a number of reasons.

You are a good candidate if any of the following apply:

  • You are unhappy about your belly button and wish to change its position, size, shape or contours. This could require shifting it’s position to a location that you consider more attractive, removing an “outie”, reducing the depth or size of an “innie” or re-contouring a misshapen belly button.
  • You have gained and subsequently lost a lot of weight, resulting in a misshapen belly button. Weight gain stretches the skin around the belly button, and losing that weight may leave the skin stretched into a long horizontal skin fold.
  • You have developed wrinkles and scars from previous abdominal surgery or from piercings. This procedure can help remove the unsightly marks and excess skin folds.
  • You feel your belly button needs reshaping after childbirth.
  • If you have developed an umbilical bulge resulting from hernia, your belly button may appear misshapen and unattractive. Sometimes umbilical hernias occur later in life or in women during pregnancy or after childbirth due to added stress in the area. These can be corrected with a hidden-incision umbilical hernia repair.
  • Some people who have no visible belly button at all opt to create the look of one to appear more normal.

As you can see, the belly button reshaping procedure can be tailored to the specific needs of each patient. After an initial consultation, your surgeon will customise the procedure to provide the outcome you want.

What to expect

This surgery will probably be performed an outpatient basis; you can go home after the effects of anaesthesia have worn off. Belly button re-shaping on it’s own can be performed under a local anesthetic to numb the abdominal area. Some surgeons also give sedatives to help you relax.

How long the procedure will take depends on the change requested. Usually it takes less than an hour, unless a hernia has to be repaired as part of the procedure.

A number of different techniques are used to reshape the belly button. Which technique is used on you will depend on your surgeon’s preferences as well as the type of change you require.

If you’ve asked for an “outie” to be made into an “innie”—which apparently most people tend to prefer—your surgeon may use internal sutures on the underside of the belly button to shape the desired contours. If you asked for an overall reduction in size, your belly button will likely be removed, reshaped and sewn back on to get the desired size and proportion. If there is scar tissue to be removed, the skin will be re-sutured after removal for a better look. If you wish to reposition the belly button, the usual procedure is to remove a strip of skin from the abdomen, allowing the belly button to be pulled in the desired direction. In almost all cases your surgeon will cut the skin inside your belly button to minimise the resulting scars.

Photos will probably be taken for the purpose of “before and after” comparisons.

Before and after surgery

There are several things you can do to prepare for any surgery. No special preparation is needed for belly button reshaping. It may be helpful to have stabilised to your ideal weight before this surgery.

After surgery

Expect a light dressing to be applied immediately after the operation. Dissolvable stitches are commonly used; minimising return visits for stitch removal.

Most people can return home a few hours after the procedure. There may be some level of pain and bruising after the procedure, but the effects will be very mild. Scars are usually hidden inside the belly button.

Although complete recovery may take a week, most people whose work is not physically demanding can return to work the next day.

There are general steps that can speed up the healing process after surgery. Follow these and your surgeon’s instructions carefully to ensure speedy healing and a good outcome.

Here’s a list of things you must specifically avoid after belly button reshaping surgery:

  • Avoid getting your navel pierced for a few weeks, because it can distort the outcome of the surgery. Risk of infections is also high during the healing process.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing (such as high-waisted jeans) until your surgical wounds are completely healed.
  • Contact your surgeon without delay if you notice signs of infection or in case of bleeding or sudden pain.

Possible risks and complications

As with any surgical procedure there are risks involved in belly button reshaping. You should be fully aware of potential risks and complications involved in any surgical procedure before you elect to have it.

Specific complications that may occur after belly button re-shaping include:

  • Pain – Pain after belly button reshaping is usually mild. Before you go home, check with your surgeon and obtain a prescription or guidance on what painkillers you can take.
  • Bruising and swelling – These will be very light and subside within a few days.
  • An irregular or a lopsided appearance – If your belly button appears irregular or lopsided, you may need further corrective surgery.
  • Scars – Although surgeons are careful in cutting skin to ensure scars are hidden within the belly button, sometimes there is excessive scar formation, which may require a corrective procedure later.

Just as you would discuss potential benefits before surgery, it is always advisable to ask your surgeon to address the potential risks as they apply to you. They can also advise you on how to avoid or minimise some types of risk.

How much does belly button surgery cost?

The cost of belly button reshaping will vary depending on the surgeon you choose, the facilities used and the exact procedure that must be performed. Your surgeon will help you estimate potential costs after a consultation.

Expect the surgery to cost between $2000 and $4000 (AUD) including the surgeon’s and assistant surgeon’s fees, anaesthetist’s fee, hospital facilities and services and the cost of follow up visits.

You should expect the costs to be higher if you are having combined procedures at the same time.

This information is correct as of 2019.

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