Umbilicoplasty, also known as a belly button repair, is a procedure to improve the appearance of the navel. It may be performed alone, or in combination with a tummy tuck or lower body lift.
Originally, the procedure was designed to treat umbilical hernias in infants, though in the past few years, umbilicoplasty has been gaining in popularity as a cosmetic procedure to restore the shape and size of the belly button after pregnancy, massive weight gain or loss, and tummy surgeries.
The most common request of patients (especially those post-pregnancy) seeking a belly button repair involves turning an “outie” into an “innie”. An outie belly button is typically a result of a hernia that has pushed its way through an opening in the abdominal wall; in this case, the navel.
For these patients, the method of choice is an umbilical hernia repair, in which the hernia is identified then pushed back into the abdominal cavity. The abdominal defect is then stitched closed or patched up with mesh. This procedure helps reduce protrusion of the navel and is performed under sedation.
An umbilicoplasty is also requested by patients to address belly buttons that have become shorter and wider due to weight gain. Here, the aim is to give the navel a more vertical shape. This is done by removing excess belly button skin and tightening the surrounding abdominal skin. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia.
For patients with belly buttons that appear excessively small, the method of choice involves removing surrounding abdominal skin to stretch the belly button tissue. This procedure is also done under local anesthesia.
Recovery for these procedures is usually around 5-7 days.