Want to change your face? Hate your earlobes? Want a bigger butt? There’s a plastic surgery procedure for that. Hate your belly button? Don’t worry, there’s a plastic surgery procedure for that, too.
According to Allure magazine, belly button procedures are increasing in popularity. According to Business Insider, several thousand people each year talk to their plastic surgeons about belly button reshaping. Many patients are also asking their plastic surgeons to turn their “outies” into “innies.”
The reason for the demand?
Some people seeking a surgical change for their belly button want a repair after having a navel piercing. Others want to restore their belly button to its original look after pregnancy, significant weight loss or abdominal surgery. Some individuals simply want surgery because they just do not like the look of their belly buttons.
Dr. Gregory W. Chernoff, F.P.R.S., a double-board-certified plastic surgeon in Santa Rosa, California, does not think the increasing demand for belly button procedures is all that unusual.
“Some people want to correct flaws or perceived flaws with their noses or their thighs or their ears. Why not belly buttons?” he said.
There are three types of surgical belly button procedures: cosmetic umbilicoplasty, umbilical hernia repair and the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure.
During the umbilicoplasty, the shape and size of the navel is changed through surgery. Belly buttons that are deemed too large are made smaller by removing excess skin and tightening remaining skin left around the belly button. Belly buttons that patients feel are too small can be treated by removing skin around the navel and stretching remaining skin to make a larger space.
“Navel piercing can negatively impact the belly button, but the weight of the piercing can cause the skin to pull and hang down. After the piercing is removed, the skin is left hanging and loose,” Chernoff said.
Most umbilicoplasty procedures can be performed in less than an hour with local anesthesia while the patient is awake. However, some individuals choose to combine the procedure with other abdominal procedures such as the tummy tuck or liposuction.
“During the tummy tuck, excess skin and fat tissue are removed from around the abdomen, and the stomach muscles are tightened, which may move the location of the belly button,” Chernoff said.
The umbilical hernia repair procedure can make an outward-appearing belly button, or “outie,” into an “innie,” although this procedure is not just about aesthetics. People undergoing the umbilical hernia procedure experience the protrusion of fat through a small hole in a weakened spot on the abdominal wall. This protrusion can be painful for some individuals and if left untreated could lead to intestinal problems and damage.
An outward belly button can also develop because of pregnancy.
“For most women, their belly button returns to normal after pregnancy, but some women may be left with damage,” Chernoff said.
Like cosmetic umbilicoplasty, the umbilical hernia repair procedure can be performed either as a standalone surgery with general anesthesia or as part of a tummy tuck or other abdominal surgery.
Like the cosmetic procedure, umbilical hernia repair can be done in less than an hour. There are some restrictions on patients after their umbilical hernia repair, but patients who choose cosmetic umbilicoplasty may return to their normal routines very quickly.
“With any cosmetic procedure, from belly button reshaping to earlobe repair, there is a recovery period and risk associated with the procedure,” Chernoff said.
Here’s a fun belly button fact: Only 10 percent of people have “outies!”
Business Insider. 11 amazing facts about belly buttons. 19 March 2016.
Allure. Why Belly Button Plastic Surgery Procedures Are Trending Right Now. 16 February 2018.