Removing Belly Button for Diastasis Repair Necessary?

I have a severe diastasis after my twin pregnancy, I was told that I also have an umbiblical hernia. I want to have a tummy tuck and abdominal reconstruction. The last surgeon I consulted with said that he may have to remove my belly button to close the diastasis completely. I am very concerned about this. Is it necessary? Is there a way to "move" the belly button? Also he wants to use mesh on the repair and I have heard some negative things about using mesh. Can you please give me some advice?

Doctor Answers 20

Diastasis repair

There is no reason to remove the umbilicus to perform a diastasis repair. the umbilicus must either be 'floated' and left connected to the outside skin, or left attached to the abdominal wall and moved in relation to the abdominal skin if an extensive abdominoplasty is planned.  I would stay far away from mesh especially if it is your first repair.  It is rarely necessary and opens you to a host of possible complications.  I hope this helps!


All the best,


Rian A. Maercks M.D.

Miami Physician
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Abdominal hernia, abdominoplasty with diastasis

Severe diastasis of the abdominal muscles with an accompanying umbilical hernia  may be more difficult to repair, but this condition is not unique for women after having multiple pregnancies.  The belly button should be able to remain in its current location,even in very weak muscle repairs.  I would always recommend multiple opinions before you would proceed with surgery.  I certainly feel that  any opinion that I would put forth has to be accepted as only a general opinion.  Only a physical examination would confirm what may need to be performed.

Good luck to you.

Belly Button Removal

The belly button should be able to be preserved during a rectus diastasis repair unless the umbilical hernia you describe is extremely large and/or other surgical scars are present at the belly button.  Have you had other umbilical hernia repairs or laparoscopic procedures in the past?  Mesh seems unnecessary unless this hernia is more complicated than you describe.     

Brian M. Braithwaite, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Repair of Abdominal Diastasis & Hernia

I can think of no reason to remove the umbilicus or for use of mesh to repair an abdominal diastasis. This would not even be necessary with a large umbilical hernia. It is the risk of reducing the blood supply to the umbilicus with the folding of the tissue during the repair of the diastasis that is of major concern. Umbilical herniorrhaphy increases this risk. This should not be a problem, however, if one is careful in defining the edges of the hernia and with suture placement during the repair. Mesh is only used to reinforce a large hernia if there is a problem in bringing the edges of the hernia together. This is never a problem in umbilical herniorrhaphy or diastasis correction. The only conceivable reason to do this is if one thought that the rectus edges could not be brought together because of marked intraabdominal fat. If this is the case, the surgery should just be postponed until you have lost enough weight to allow the closure. If this is the case, the weight loss will markedly improve your chances of a good result without problems and will eliminate the problems that worry you.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

You don't need mesh for diastasis repair and you can keep your navel

Unless you have some extraordinary anatomical distortion, you can expect a good result with diastasis repair and maintenance of your belly button. I have done many hundreds of these operations and unless there has been some tissue loss from trauma or something else, mesh is never necessary. Furthermore, I have never had to remove a belly button ever.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Diastasis repair should not remove belly button during tummy tuck

Thank you for your question. Diastasis repair is done frequently during tummy tuck and I see no reason why the belly button would need to be removed.

If you're concerned consult another plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, experienced in tummy Tuck surgery and he was next and reputation and your community.

Removing the belly button in a tummy tuck


  I think you need another opinion.  It is true that in some cases of severe umbilical hernia operations that there can be some difficulty in manuevering the belly button but only in a rare case would it be necessary to remove the belly button completely.

  Noone wants an abdomen without the belly button just like noone wants to have a breast without the nipple.  It is just part of the body part.

  Seek other opinions but unless you are a far out case, then you will not need to remove your belly button.

             Steven M. Lynch, M.D.

Steven M. Lynch, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Diastasis Repair

Thank you for the question.

Diastasis repair can be performed without “removing” the umbilicus and/or  the use of mesh.

Best wishes.

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

Uusally not necessary to remove belly button

It is usually not necessary to completely remove the belly button during tummy tuck surgery, even to repair a diastasis.  However, only a plastic surgeon can adequately advise you following a thorough physical examination.

James Tang, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
3.4 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Removing the Belly Button in Severe Diastasis Recti.

It is in general NOT neccessary to remove the belly button during diastasis repair, I have repaired many very wide diastases and never had to remove the belly button, even when combined with hernia repair, Whether to use mesh is a personal preference, but it can increase incidence of infection since it is a foreign body. It sounds like you should get some more opinions before proceeding with surgery. Good Luck

Johan E. Brahme, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 20 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.