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Options for Dead Belly Button

I had a Mommy Makeover on 4/19/12- BA under muscle, TT with MR and incisional and umbilical hernia repair. My PS works with a general surgeon who performed the hernia repairs. My belly button was initially black and crusty, but is now just hard and black. I saw the PS again yesterday and he said it is dead. I'm now scheduled to go back to surgery to have the dead removed and a new BB created. From what I have seen, these procedures don't create a very natural looking BB. Is this my only option?

Doctor Answers (7)

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Watching a dead bellybutton.



I'm sorry to hear that you're having any issues.  Losing blood supply to the belly button is certainly a possibility when a hernia is repaired at the same time.

As long as there is no sign of infection this is something that I might treat conservatively with a topical antibody cream.  Often, the surrounding tissue will grow underneath the dead tissue and the dead tissue will fall out on its own.  If there a sign of infection your surgeon would want to take the dead tissue away sooner.  This is something that you may be able to do under a local anesthesia.

You may wish to discuss these options with your plastic surgeon.  While this situation seems scary often the area heels in with a small scar that will look similar to a small natural bellybutton.


Good luck to you.

Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Scarring around the umbilicus after a TT


Delayed healing of the umbilicus is not uncommon at all.  All that is required is dressing changes and keeping the area clean and it should heal fine. Because the umbilicus has to get its blood supply up through the stalk there are several points where this blood supply can become constricted.  Swelling will also contribute to the problems.  All you can do is wait it out, follow instructions and let it heal.  If it does not heal right a minor scar revision may be indicated.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Dead Belly Button


Please speak with your plastic surgeon about this.  I suspect that he/she will be able to create a new belly button for you.

Jonathan Ross Berman, M.D. , F.A.C.S.

Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

What To Do About A Belly Button That Has Died


All four previous responders in your Real Self team of experts have agreed 100%.  Although everyone feels your personal plastic surgeon should make the final decision, I too have to agree, less is more in this situation.  As long as there is no infection, I would leave the natural process of wound healing and scarring to take effect.  Use topical antibiotics, and I bet you will be happily surprised with the outcome. 


Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 153 reviews

Options for dead belly button


Thank you for the question. No, this is not the only option. Probably waiting and leaving it is a better option. The belly button is a scar tissue and letting heal as a scar tissue is a good option. The results are usually good. Cleaning it daily with a Q tip and apply stile dressing is a good treatment regiment. 

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Belly Button Dead; Treatment Options?


I'm sorry to hear about the complication you are experiencing.

Although your plastic surgeon is in the best position to advise you, in my practice I would probably treat this complication nonsurgically at this point.  Given that you are only one month out of your procedure,   a significant amount of inflammation/swelling remains and tissue laxity is not optimal.  You may want to ask your plastic surgeon about the option of waiting and/or exactly what procedures is planned.

Best wishes.

Web reference:

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 625 reviews

Belly button necrosis


I have had that happen to me once in my career so what I am telling you is based on a single experience, not a study of a large number of patients.  My thought was that the belly button is basically a scar left over from the umbilical cord by which we were attached to our mothers.  Since it was already a scar, I just treated my single case conservatively - keeping it clean and putting antibiotic ointment on it.  It healed up like all wounds do and actually looked just fine.  I don't know what procedure your doctors are planning to do, but doing nothing at all worked for me.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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