The Perfect Belly Button!

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Belly button surgery is one of the relatively "hot" surgeries in recent years. The procedure is called umbilicoplasty, which is a cosmetic surgery procedure to help create a more attractive navel. This can be accomplished by itself such as creation of an "innie" from an "outie" but is more frequently done at the time of a tummy tuck.

In my opinion, the belly button is the most important cosmetic part of a good tummy tuck. The lower tummy tuck scar is hidden well too low for the patient to routinely "show it off", but the navel is easily flaunted. Patients are very concerned about this and want as natural an appearance as possible. Many patients have been unhappy with their umbilicus for all of the lives. For some, the belly button was distorted from pregnancy, weight gain or even umbilical hernias.

There is actually little written to date on the perfect belly button. There are a handful of techniques described and used by plastic surgeons to achieve this. A formal study done at the University of Missouri about a decade ago looked at the characteristics of the perfect belly button. They photographed belly buttons of volunteer college students and had the photos judged. Attractive belly buttons were more vertically oriented, occasionally a "T" shape created by an overlying small "hood" was considered attractive as well. I would add to this, the absence of surrounding stretch marks, minimal fat, no hair (on a female) and smooth surrounding skin without visible scarring. Most of these seem fairly intuitive.

To try to achieve the perfect belly button surgically, plastic surgeons have modified their techniques over the years. One technique that has been quite successful and popular is a modification of an inverted "U" incision pattern. This helps to prevent narrowing of the scar, helps to hide it on the inside of the belly button where it is not as visible and creates a very nice vertical belly button with a small overlying hood. Additionally, the navel should be firmly imbricated to the abdominal wall to help create an "innie".

An umbilicoplasty is routine in a full abdominoplasty which also involves tightening of the abdominal muscles, and removal of redundant skin, stretch marks and fat. Often, this is combined with liposuction for greater definition of the abdomen.

Article by
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon