Will My Belly Button Change After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Written by Amy Bekanich, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on August 19, 2022 No Comments

tummy tuck belly button

Tummy tuck surgery removes excess skin following pregnancy or significant weight loss. During this procedure, the belly button’s appearance and location may be altered. Depending on patient need and the extent of the procedure, skilled surgeons will not only flatten the stomach, but enhance results by creating a new belly button. If you’re considering a tummy tuck but worried about the appearance of your belly button, keep reading to learn more.

Mini Tummy Tucks Will Not Change Belly Button Appearance

A mini tummy tuck treats only the ‘pooch’ area below the belly button and will not affect the belly button’s appearance. In a mini tummy tuck, an incision is made a few inches below the belly button, excess skin is removed, and the incision is closed.

Mini tummy tucks are an alternative for patients with no need for muscle repair and less skin to remove, as they require only a narrow incision.

mini tummy tuck diagram
Mini Tummy Tuck Diagram Example

Standard Tummy Tuck Often Involve Belly Button Alterations

A full tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, typically involves the removal of a significant amount of excess tissue (skin or fat) as well as tightening of lax stomach muscles. The extent of the procedure would naturally alter the positioning, shape, and appearance of the belly button. As such, it is often necessary for the belly button to be repositioned and enhanced during the procedure.

Compared to a mini tuck, a standard tummy tuck involves the incision that is made below the belly button, but extends wider than the mini-incision.

After excess skin is removed, remaining skin is pulled downward from the chest toward the hips. During this process, the belly button temporarily disappears. Most surgeons will make a second incision around the belly button, leaving the ‘stalk’ of the navel attached to the muscles below. Once the skin has been re-positioned, the surgeon chooses a new location in which to place the opening for the belly button.

The belly button may appear wider or more swollen immediately after surgery, but will shrink in size during recovery. The final result should be a shape that is complimentary to the patient’s new silhouette.

before and after belly button change
An example of changes to belly button appearance before and after a standard tummy tuck procedure. View more before and after cases in our tummy tuck photo gallery

A Well-Placed Belly Button Enhances Final Results

A misplaced or misshapen belly button will prevent a tummy tuck from looking natural, making it apparent the patient had surgery. A navel that’s placed too high or low can upset the symmetry of the torso. There’s also a risk the belly button may appear irregularly shaped, too deep or too shallow.

A skilled and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon will place the new belly button in an ideal location to enhance the final tummy tuck results. Before choosing a surgeon, ask to see before and after pictures of tummy tuck patients. Pay specific attention to the final appearance of the navel.

It’s also important to discuss concerns regarding your naval area with the surgeon before the procedure. Communicating your expectations always improves outcomes.

Proper Healing Is Important

In addition to choosing a skilled surgeon, following post-surgical advice allows the belly button to heal properly for the best possible result. Typical post-operative instructions will include the following:

  • Follow post-op instructions regarding cleaning and wound care
  • Wear compression garments exactly as directed
  • Refrain from strenuous exercise until healing is complete

Full healing after a tummy tuck may take 8-12 weeks. Until then, it’s normal for the belly button to appear swollen or to crust over. If any of the following occurs, contact your surgeon as soon as possible:

  • Pus, discharge of blood is leaking from the belly button
  • The belly button appears too closed, too open, or misshapen
  • The belly button protrudes even as swelling goes down
  • Scarring becomes hard, painful, or more swollen
  • Pain becomes persistent or worsening

What If I Don’t Like My Post-Surgery Belly Button?

Umbilicoplasty is a great option for patients who are unhappy with their belly button after they have fully healed form their tummy tuck procedure. This cosmetic procedure is common after pregnancy or tummy tuck. It gives the belly button a more vertical (versus horizontal), aesthetically pleasing shape. Umbilicoplasty will not remove fat from the belly, it only addresses the look of the navel.

The quick procedure can be performed in office or under general anesthesia. A small amount of skin may be removed from around the belly button. The surgeon will then position the navel higher or lower on the belly, adjusting the shape and size in the process. The incisions will be closed with stitches.

Finally, it is best to consider tummy tuck surgery only if you plan not to get pregnant again. Future pregnancy or weight gain will alter the results of your cosmetic procedure.

Amy Bekanich, MD

my Sanders Bekanich, MD is a board-certified plastic surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Bekanich her medical degree at Oregon Health and Sciences University. She then completed residencies in both General Surgery as well as Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Residency at University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Dr. Bekanich has a passion for assisting patients in their journey to help transform their lives and feel like themselves again.

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