Belly Button Almost Closed After a Five Month Tummy Tuck.

I had a tummy tuck five months ago and my belly button is almost closed. The only thing that fits is a q-tip and pushing it hard. What should I do?

Doctor Answers 13

Belly button closing may indicate separation from skin

Dear angiem2220,

If your umbilicus (belly button) is now almost closed, there is a strong possibility that the umbilicus has separated from the skin and will completely close over. The most common reasons for this happening is due to tension on the incision around the umbilicus, too much activity soon after surgery, or smokers who resume smoking after a tummy tuck (or never quit in the first place).

During a tummy tuck, an incision is made around the umbilicus so that it is detached from the tummy skin. The entire tummy skin shifts downwards (as the extra skin is removed), but the umbilicus stays in the same spot. A new opening in the skin overlying the umbilicus is made, so that it can be brought back out. Once brought through the new opening, it is sewn to the tummy skin. For one or more of the reasons listed above, the umbilicus (gradually) became separated from the tummy skin, and started the process of closing shut completely.

Bottom line: your situation is not an emergency, but you should see your plastic surgeon to have it corrected. Often this can be done with just local anesthetic anesthesia. Good luck.

Best regards,

Lawrence Tong MD FACS FRCSC

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Belly button narrowing is easily fixable

Occasionally during an abdominoplasty, when the new belly button hole is made too small, it will constrict as the incisions heal. This will not improve on its own. The good news is that it is easily fixable. The way that I have successfully reconstructed new belly buttons involves a small incision around the existing belly button and replacement with a skin graft. It works beautifully.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Belly button too small

As healing occurs, sometimes there is contraction of the scar.  If this happens to a circular scar like the one around your navel, it can cause narrowing and shrinkage.  Go back to your surgeon and have him/her take a look.  Any revision can most likely be done with a local anesthetic in the office.  Also, I sometimes have my patients wear a stent in their navel if I am concerned that it is narrowing.  A marble or bead of some sort can be taped over.  It sounds weird but it works!

Good luck.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

My belly button shrunk after a tummy tuck, what should I do?

It may sound like a trivial problem, but it should be fixed, since this may create hygiene problems and be a source of infection.   Thankfully, these problems are a easy fix under local anaesthesia in the office.  A Plastic Surgeon can shift a small amount of tissue into the belly button area and improve its appearance as well as making it much easier to clean.  

Claudio DeLorenzi, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Belly button constriction

Sound like you have a stenosed umbilicus.  You may need a revision of the umbilicus for it to stay open. You should check it out with your doctor.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Belly button narrowed five month after abdominoplasty/tummy tuck

You need to go back to your surgeon and have the belly button widened and/or lengthened.  It is better to go back sooner rather than later.  If the umbilicus (belly button) closes then squamous (skin) debris will continue to slough off in an enclosed space.  This can lead to a cyst or possibly an infection.

Kenneth L. Stein, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Extreme Narrowing and Obliteration of Belly Button after Tummy Tuck

Regarding: "Belly Button Almost Closed After a Five Month Tummy Tuck.
I had a tummy tuck five months ago and my belly button is almost closed. The only thing that fits is a q-tip and pushing it hard. What should I do

Extreme Narrowing and Obliteration of Belly Button after Tummy Tuck is called UMBILICAL STENOSIS. The scar tissue around the belly button constricts and deforms it. I ASSUME you discussed this with your Plastic surgeon and are gathering more information. This condition can occasionally be treated by progressive dilatation of the opening with increasing size marbles but in many cases requires surgery in which the old scar tissue is removed and the wound in closed in a way which makes it hard for new scar to constrict the new belly button.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Belly button scarring

It sounds like you have stenosis (narrowing) of your belly button post tummy tuck.   Scar massage therapy may improve this.  However, you will likely need a small procedure called an umbilicoplasty (which often can be done just under local anesthesia).   I recommend you first visit with your surgeon who performed your tummy tuck to learn more about your options.

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 211 reviews

Belly button can sometimes narrow or constrict after tummy tuck

I agree that you likely have a constricted or stenosed umbilicus after abdominoplasty or tummy tuck.  This is a fairly common condition that depending on the technique utilized by your surgeon can occur.  In general, it is much better to have a smaller or subtle belly button than a large belly button.  One of the tell tale signs of a bad tummy tuck is a large belly button that looks like a target sign - and this can be extremely hard to fix.

My recommendation is to get a foam ear plug and maybe try to find a solid solicone ear plug (usually can find at a sporting goods store when they sell firearms).  You basically do aggressive scar massage and fit in the solid silicone ear plug and you can "maintain" the circumference of the umbilicus.  Not to scare you but I have seen some TOTALLY close off and at 5 months, you can still prevent this and likely stretch it some without needing a surgical revision. If this does not work, I would recommend revisiting your board certified plastic surgeon and discuss options with him or her.  I hope this helps!


James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

James F. Boynton, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Belly button scarring after a tummy tuck

You may find that steroid injection and/or massage may be useful in softening up the scar around the umbilicus.

What may or may not also be helpful is gentle dilation of the bellybutton with a small marble that can be placed in the  bellybutton (and taped over). This may be left in place overnight and may help avoid continued contraction of the umbilicus.

Otherwise allow time for scar maturation to occur and understand that scar revision surgery may be necessary.

As with any recommendations you should receive online, I would suggest clearing it with your plastic surgeon before you begin.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 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.