The belly button is an area of aesthetic concern for many patients.  It often stretches following history of pregnancies.  Other patients may wish to remove a belly button piercing tract or to reduce the prominence of a protuberant (“outie”) belly button.  An umbilical hernia may also result in a bulge at the site, prompting others to consult a plastic surgeon.  Here are 5 FAQ regarding umbilicoplasty, which may be helpful for patients considering this minor plastic surgery procedure:

  • What is umbilicoplasty?

Umbilicoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure that is performed to change the shape or appearance of the belly button. It may be performed alone or in combination with tummy tuck surgery.

  • How is umbilicoplasty performed?

If performed as an independent procedure, umbilicoplasty requires only local anesthetic in a minor procedure room setting.  It may be performed to reduce the size of the belly button, to reduce protrusion, or to excise a piercing tract that is no longer desired.  If combined with tummy tuck surgery, it is performed under general anesthetic.  The size of the belly button is generally reduced through a circumferential incision. Permanent sutures are most commonly used, which are removed approximately 7-10 days post-operatively.  If an umbilical hernia is present, the hernia may be reduced and repaired to correct bulging at the site.

  • How long until umbilicoplasty results are apparent?

As with most plastic surgery procedures, final results are achieved by one year post-operatively as scar maturation completes.  Early results become apparent within a few months, however scars takes one year to fade and improve in appearance as long as protected from UV exposure during healing.

  • What is anticipated recovery after umbilicoplasty?

If umbilicoplasty alone is performed, patients may generally return to school or work the following day. Over-the-counter pain medication is recommended if any discomfort is experienced.  Exercise should be avoided until a few weeks following umbilicoplasty to lower risk of bleeding and wound healing complications.  If performed in combination with a tummy tuck or umbilical hernia repair, longer recovery will be required.  Patients may return to office-based work within 1-2 weeks of surgery and exercise should be avoided until 6 weeks post-operatively given more extensive surgery.

  • What are risks of umbilicoplasty?

It is important for patients to understand potential risks before proceeding with elective plastic surgery.  Risks of umbilicoplasty include bleeding, infection, and delayed wound healing.  Hypertrophic vs. keloid scarring may also occur.  During consultation, Dr. Power will ask regarding risk factors for problematic scarring.  If any concerns identified, they will be discussed in detail to enable you to make an informed decision before proceeding with elective surgery.  Risks relating to aesthetic outcome include asymmetry, over- vs. undercorrection, and potential dissatisfaction with aesthetic outcome.

Umbilicoplasty is generally a well-tolerated minor plastic surgery procedure with low risk of complications in healthy patients who are non-smokers.  It is a powerful technique that may change the size or appearance of the belly button. If considering this type of plastic surgery, Dr. Power will carefully listen to your aesthetic concerns and perform a detailed physical examination to assess whether umbilicoplasty may help you achieve your aesthetic goals.

Please contact us if interested in scheduling a consultation with Dr. Stephanie Power, female plastic surgeon in Yorkville, Toronto.