The belly button.
It has no use after you are born, yet we are quite obsessed about it. Are you an innie? Outie? Many of my young patients pierce it. Many of my moms have one which “winks” after being stretched by babies. Some pregnant women get a small umbilical hernia, so the innie is now an outie.
Egads! When that happens I think you need counseling.
Such a small thing. Such big issues.
Belly button shape after a tummy tuck is a tough thing. I recently fielded a question from a patient who has a slit like belly button after a tummy tuck. That can happen. If your belly button is pulled, it can look stretched.
How can you make a belly button look pretty?
When we do a full tummy tuck, you have a scar going 360 around the belly button. We doctors do all sorts of little tricks to try to tuck the belly button, get it to indent, and hide the scar. I went to a talk once on “aesthetics of the belly button” at our national plastic surgery meeting. (Yes, yes. These are the kind of talks we go to as plastic surgeons.) But belly buttons are important. The belly button shape voted “the best” by the study was slightly hooded on the top and fanned out a little on the bottom.
I try to simulate this. Most of my patients look great. I have patients who’s scars overall are fantastic- hairline, barely visible. If your belly button doesn’t look great, what happened and what can you do?
If your belly button looks too small, it contracted on itself because it is a round scar. I changed the way I inset the belly button to improve this by creating a little advancement flap into the belly button. Also you can try the marble trick to enlarge and round it out.
If your belly button formed a raised scar (keloid or hypertrophic scar) you can try scar creams, massage, silicone gel sheeting, steroid injections, and cutting it out and starting again. In general, I always try to close under little tension. Tension is bad and can lead to raised scars. Keloids though tend to happen more often along the midline. And belly buttons tend to be in the midline.
Funny belly button shape. I find women who are super skinny and have no fat around the belly button are tougher to get pretty belly buttons in because they don’t indent as much, and it is harder to hide the scar. The toughest are women with no indent anymore, where the belly button looks like a shallow saucer. These women are tough as they have blown out their belly button.
But I try. Because what point is having a beautiful flat tummy if you can’t show it off a bit?
Please keep in mind: subjects covered in this blog and certain tips and advice are not substitutes for professional medical advice. This blog is for general informational purposes only. If you are considering plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery, or cosmetic enhancement, you should always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon and/or your general practitioner in-person for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.
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