Umbilicoplasty Surgery: Cosmetic Belly Button Enhancement Procedures

Written by Timothy McGee, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on March 13, 2020 No Comments

Umbilicoplasty surgery

Are you unhappy with the current appearance of your belly button? Whether you are left with excess scar tissue from a previous piercing or a hernia stemming from child birth, an Umbilicoplasty procedure can be performed to correct the appearance of a belly button. The procedure is simple and can be performed by itself or in conjunction with tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery to enhance the entire abdomen area.

What is Umbilicoplasty

Umbilicoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure dedicated to changing the appearance of the belly button. Originally performed to repair umbilical hernias in infants, umbilicoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure that is becoming more popular among both males and females. The overall goal of umbilicoplasty is to correct defects to the shape of the belly button.

It’s important to note that umbilicoplasty solely addresses the appearance of the belly button. Other areas of the stomach will not be altered by umbilicoplasty. Patients who are looking to alter other areas of the abdomen should consider liposuction or tummy tuck surgery.

What problems will umbilicoplasty fix?

Umbilicoplasty can correct three common issues that cause distortion of the belly button: excess scar tissue from a piercing, the horizontal stretching of the belly button following childbirth, and hernias.

Piercing Issues

Some individuals may experience the creation of scar tissue along the belly button due to a current or previous piercing. Depending on severity, piercing related scarring can compromise the overall appearance of the belly button. Umbilicoplasty can correct this issue if the scar tissue occurs along the small ring of skin surrounding the belly button. If the scarring appears any higher, a scar revision procedure may be necessary.

Post-Pregnancy Stretching

Over the course of a normal pregnancy the size and shape of a women’s belly button can become altered. Often the belly button appears horizontally stretched, causing it to appear shorter and wider than its pre-pregnancy appearance. Some women experience the fusing of tissue under the belly button causing it to protrude and appear like an “outie”. Umbilicoplasty can be performed to correct both of these issues.


A hernia is a medical condition where the intestine protrudes through the abdominal muscle at the belly button. Minor hernias often close on their own and do not alter the appearance of the belly button. More severe hernias must be surgically repaired, often with umbilicoplasty performed to fix the belly button. In this instance, umbilicoplasty may be considered medically necessary and be covered by most medical insurance plans.

How is umbilicoplasty performed?

Umbilicoplasty may be performed under general anesthesia, twilight anesthesia, or a local aesthetic, depending on the extent of treatment required. The procedure begins with the surgeon making a small incision within the belly button. Next, any unwanted scar tissue or excess skin is removed. The surgeon may alter the shape or placement of the belly button in order to produce the patients desired end results. The surgery concludes with the belly button being closed with dissolvable stitches.

How long does umbilicoplasty take?

While the duration of each procedure may differ, most umbilicoplasty procedures can be performed in about an hour.

What is recovery like?

Directly after surgery patients may experience moderate levels of pain or discomfort, which can be effectively managed by prescription pain medication. Patients are able to return to all normal daily activities (including showering) within 24 to 48 hours of their procedure. However, intense exercise should not be resumed until the patient is cleared by their surgeon (usually around 7-10 days post procedure).

Is umbilicoplasty risky?

Umbilicoplasty is a fairly low risk procedure. The most common side effects of umbilicoplasty surgery include nausea (from the anesthesia used during the procedure) and minor bleeding. As with any surgical procedure, there is a chance of infection. Patients should contact their surgeon immediately if there are any signs of infection like fever or color discharge. Finally, there is a risk of scarring so we advise patients who are undergoing umbilicoplasty to correct a piercing scar to weigh the risks and benefits of the procedure.

Timothy McGee, MD

Dr. McGee has been practicing plastic surgery for more than 18 years in all areas of the field, including cosmetic surgery and reconstructive breast and facial surgery. Dr. McGee is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He has numerous hospital affiliations in the Round Rock and greater Austin areas and is a member of the American Society of plastic Surgeons, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American College of Surgeons and Austin Smiles.

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