OVERVIEW Belly button or navel surgery (umbilicoplasty) is a procedure to change the appearance or size of the belly button to make it more aesthetically pleasing and should be carried out by a fully trained and qualified cosmetic surgeon. It can be carried out on its own or as part of another procedure like a tummy tuck or body lift. As part of another surgical procedure such as a tummy tuck or body lift, a general anaesthetic would be required. If it is carried out on its own a local anaesthetic may suffice and the patient would not need to sty in hospital overnight, returning get to normal daily activities within 24 hours.
Patients who choose to have an umbilicoplasty often do so because they want to change what they consider to be an unattractive “outie” to an “innie” or to reduce the depth of an “innie”. A patients belly button may have been the same since birth, or may have changed shape and/or size following pregnancy or following severe weight loss or gain; or after another unrelated surgery. Sometimes, for example, quite often with a tummy tuck, a new belly button will have to be created, depending on the amount of skin that is removed.
WHAT TO EXPECT If having the procedure on its own, the local anaesthetic will be administered to numb the area around the belly button and the patient will be given a sedative in order to feel relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. It is a relatively simple surgery and should not leave visible scars. The stitches would generally be dissolvable and should dissolve within a few days following the procedure. Patients will probably experience some swelling, bruising and soreness for a few days.
BENEFITS Umbilicoplasty can generally be performed in under an hour and can make the patients belly button more aesthetically pleasing. Recovery time is usually a few days to a week.
POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE On a very rare occasion the area may become infected following the procedure, or the patient may be disappointed with the new shape or appearance and wish for the results to be corrected, which would necessitate another operation.