Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Belly buttons after tummy tuck

Belly buttons can be a source of worry for patients who have had a tummy tuck. For some, the belly button simply doesn’t look right after surgery, and for others, it is too tight or too loose.

There are a number of reasons why a patient’s belly button might not look or feel normal after surgery. One common problem is that the skin around the belly button has been stretched out too much during surgery, making it difficult for the belly button to retract all the way into the center. This can lead to an elongated scar, which can make it appear as if your belly button is stretched out and bulging outwards. In most cases, this is caused by over-stretching during surgery, but in some cases it may be due to poor healing after surgery. If you think that your belly button has been stretched out too much during surgery or otherwise does not look like it should after your procedure, talk to your doctor about options for addressing this issue.

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Belly buttons after tummy tuck

So you’re thinking about getting a tummy tuck. Are you hoping to achieve a flatter, firmer belly, get a more hourglass-like shape, or rid yourself of loose skin? A tummy tuck can indeed achieve all of these goals.

Of course, you also want your new shape to look beautiful and natural—and that takes more than just removing excess skin and tightening muscles. There’s one seemingly small part of the procedure that will greatly impact the overall appearance of your results: the belly button.

That’s because the navel is front and center, and often the first thing people notice when looking at your midriff. It’s especially important if your tummy tuck goals include feeling confident wearing a bikini…and not having people be able to instantly detect you’ve had the procedure after healing is complete.

Achieving a natural looking belly button after tummy tuck surgery is so important that our Inland Cosmetic surgeons perform “designer” belly button reshaping with each procedure, carefully shaping your belly button to best flatter your unique proportions.

A belly button that is too large and round, stretched and slit-like, or positioned too high or too low on the abdomen are tell-tale signs of tummy tuck surgery—that’s why, at Inland Cosmetic, we include the “Inland Innie” designer belly button reshaping with every abdominoplasty.

If you’re considering a tummy tuck, it’s worth a minute of your time to read on and learn just how much of a difference a beautiful belly button can make for you.

How the belly button separates a decent tummy tuck from a beautiful tummy tuck

The belly button is the most distinctive and central feature of a nice looking abdomen. It can also be a giveaway of a previous tummy tuck if not approached thoughtfully by the cosmetic surgeon. For instance, a belly button that is too large and round, stretched and slit-like, or positioned too high or too low on the abdomen are tell-tale signs of tummy tuck surgery—not the effect most patients wish to have when showing off their rejuvenated body.

Understanding the importance of the belly button is one factor that distinguishes true tummy tuck experts from the rest. There is no one single belly button shape or size that works for every patient, and a skilled cosmetic surgeon will customize their technique to create a naval that looks most natural with a patient’s torso length, shape, and size, and that best meets their desired belly button shape.

Our Inland Cosmetic surgeons are so passionate about creating beautiful belly buttons that we’ve developed our own technique, called the Inland Innie.

What does the “Inland Innie” look like?

In general, patients want an “innie” belly button. For the cosmetic surgeon, achieving this means ensuring (and often adding) a natural depth to the naval, with a nice, smooth envelope of skin above it. Our goal is to give our patients the most natural-looking belly button for their body with minimal scarring, so that no one can tell that they had it done.

There is a lot of finesse that goes into making an aesthetically pleasing belly button. The cosmetic surgeon must determine and remove precisely the right amount of tissue—even a tiny amount too much or too little can diminish the result. Suture placement is also essential to a natural result; there must be no detectable evidence of sutures even after they are removed.

Making sure your new belly button heals beautifully

Step one is choosing an experienced cosmetic surgeon with a reputation for creating natural looking belly buttons, and whose tummy tuck results you love. Step two is taking excellent care of your results to ensure optimal healing. First and foremost, follow your cosmetic surgeons’ aftercare instructions to the letter. For our tummy tuck patients, this includes keeping the area clean and dry and applying antibiotic ointment for several days.

Don’t stick marbles (or anything else) in your belly button while it’s healing

While we sometimes have a patient use a soft rubber ring or belly button marble after tummy tuck revision to help maintain shape in cases where there is extreme scarring or contracture to repair, this is something you should leave up to your surgeon! Don’t try this “trick” on your own based on what you read on the internet. In fact, placing a foreign object in your belly button can increase risk of infection and irritate healing incisions, both of which could ruin your end result. In most procedures, your tummy tuck surgeon’s skill and technique should be enough to create a beautiful, round “innie” belly button; no marble or other device should be necessary.

Tummy tuck belly button healing stages

So, you’ve decided to get a tummy tuck.

But you still have some questions about the procedure — including about what happens to your belly button after a tummy tuckTrusted Source.

Many people wonder this exact thing, as a botched belly button can make the tummy tuck not worth it at all. Rest assured that in most cases, the belly button won’t be altered or moved, instead the skin and muscle around it will be tightened.

If you opt for a mini tummy tuck, the whole procedure will take place below the belly button, which is a good option for those who are just concerned about a small pooch in the lower belly.

Tummy tucks and the belly button

During the tummy tuck procedure, an incision will be made in the low abdomen through which fat and stretched skin will be removed, and any loose muscles will be sewn together. Another incision will usually be made around the belly button.

The remaining upper skin is lifted up as high as the rib cage and pulled down like a window shade to the lower skin near the pubic bone. The skin is now stretched tight and the surgeon then chooses the new ideal position to place the stalk of the belly button.

Your belly button is actually attached to the muscles below. During the procedure, it’ll stay attached to its “stalk.” In most cases, the surgeon will create a new opening for the belly buttonTrusted Source, especially if its shape has become distorted after weight gain or pregnancy.

If this isn’t done well, the belly button may end up looking distorted — either too flat, too deep, or the wrong shape. So, it’s important to ask your surgeon to see their portfolio and ask about their ideas for your naval.

If you’re healed from a tummy tuck and still dissatisfied with your belly button, you may consider an umbilicoplasty, which is a surgery to change the appearance of the belly button.

Before and after pictures

It can be helpful to see before and after photos of the belly button after a tummy tuck when deciding if the procedure is right for you. Check out the gallery of real patients below:VIEW GALLERY3

Healing after surgery

The recovery timeline after your tummy tuck will vary depending on several factors including your age, weight, and general health.

You may or may not have to spend the night in the hospital. Your drainage tubes, which pull fluid away from the abdomen, will likely remain in place for several days.

You’ll also need to wear an abdominal binder for about 6 weeks. This is basically a very tight band around the belly that supports the tummy and helps to avoid fluid buildup.

It’s especially important that you wear your binder and avoid strenuous activity so the belly button heals properly.


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Post-surgery care 

Your doctor should give instructions on how to care for your belly button after a tummy tuck. This may include cleaning the area with warm water or a saltwater solution.

It’s normal for the area to look swollen and even a bit crusty after surgery, and it may take as long as 6 months for the belly button to heal.

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor right away if you notice signs of infection in the belly button after a tummy tuck. These signs include:

  • The belly button looks too constricted or too open.
  • Pus or discharge is coming from the naval.
  • Your belly button protrudes for more than a few weeks.
  • You feel something hard behind the naval.
  • The belly button looks distorted or “off.”
  • The scar feels painful or becomes more prominent.
  • You notice blood at the incision site.

The bottom line

A tummy tuck can be a good way to flatten the stomach and tighten muscles in the abdomen that may have gotten loose from pregnancy, weight gain, or just general aging, but many people wonder what’ll happen to the belly button as a result of the procedure.

Normally, an incision will be made around the naval and it’ll be lifted and put back in the appropriate place to fit the new shape of the stomach. Other times it may be necessary to make a new opening.

It’s always a good idea to see before and after pictures from your surgeon and pay close attention to the belly button area when viewing them.

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