Darkened Belly Button After Tummy Tuck

I had a Tummy Tuck 6 months ago, and my belly button is very dark and big/swelling. What caused this, and can this be corrected? Is there a topical treatment that can make it return to its normal skin color? Would I still benefit at this stage from using a silicone sheet for my scar? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 9

Consider the keloid


What is the quality of your other tummy tuck scars? What you are describing sounds like a keloid scar formation with the swelling and enlargement. Keloids are scars that loose control and continue to grow and grow. They are more common in people of color. Sometimes keloid scars can "overtake" a belly button and grow right over it after a tummy tuck. A visit back to your surgeon will shed some light on the subject and guide your treatment. Good luck!

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Belly Button skin color is often darker than the abdominal skin

I have had several patients of mine who have had a similar experience with darkness of the umbilicus. I have noted that in these patients the skin color of the deep part of the umbilicus is much darker than the rest of the abdominal skin. usually this skin color is hidden with the loose surrounding skin, and become apparent only after tightening the skin. the only remedy for this is to make the umbilicus smaller, and to make it look deeper in order to hide it.


Sean Younai, md beautifulfigure.com

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Best to visit your surgeon


Based only on your description, it's difficult to say exactly what might be going on. It sounds like you may have formed an unfavorable scar- your best bet is to visit your surgeon. At 6 months, your scar is technically still undergoing maturation changes for another 6 months to a year, and so modulation of the scar is still possible. Your surgeon will be able to advise you on their preferred treatment options, understanding exactly what was done in your surgery.

Many good options exist, including silicone tape, Scarguard gel, and topical or injected steroids, depending on your surgeon's preference, your preference, and the exact appearance of your scar.

I hope that helps, and Happy Holidays!

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

Dark and swollen umbilicus after Tummy Tuck should be evaluated

In all likelihood, this is normal but it should be evaluated.

As mentioned it could be a keloid, hypertorphic scar, hernia, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, eschar, etc.

Your surgeon is the best person to make this distinction.

If it is thickened scar, silicone sheets or gel along with sun blocks may be beneficial.

Skin bleaching agents may also help but generally are not useful.

Avoid Mederma, it has done little for my my patients.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Umbilicus and tummy tuck

Six weeks out from a tummy tuck and swelling in the umbilicus is normal. If the color is particularly dark, do you mean black, purple? If it is purple it could be congested, but usually by 6 weeks this resolves. If it is black, then you may have sloughed a part or all of your umbilicus. You should probably be seen by your doctor to check it out.

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

Dark color will fade

The color will resolve but the bulge may be an umbilical hernia. See your doctor ASAP to decide if corrective surgery is in order.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Many possiblities here...

There are many possibilities with your situation. First, the dark color could be due to your original skin coloring (nothing to do about this), postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (treat with skin lighteners like hydroquinone), or thick scarring (lasers and scar creams to start with). The puffiness can be due to an umbilical hernia, thick scarring, or other possible factors. It is important to consult with your surgeon or another board-certified plastic surgeon to make sure your result is as good as possible.

Anthony Youn, MD, FACS
Detroit Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

This doesn't sound normal

If you were 6 days not 6 months out from surgery I would say your belly button had died and turned black. At 6 months though this would not be the case. You should go back to your doctor for a check and perhaps a revision to shrink it or laser treatments to possibly lighten it.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

It sounds like you will need a surgical correction.

To Rozie,

Hi. The dark color of your belly button by itself is not a big problem. It will probably improve with time and it can be lightened with laser treatments.

But you say your belly button is BIG and SWOLLEN. That does not sound right. The belly button can be made smaller and more attractive with a relatively simple revision.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 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.