General surgeon is doing a hernia repair and tummy tuck, but wants to take the belly button? Help! Why? (Photo)

So I am having a hernia repaired for the 2nd time, this time with mesh done by a general surgeon.Since I've lost a significant amount of weight he offered to do a tummy tuck at the same time, but insisted that he had to take the belly button due to risk of infection. I'm scared of what it will look like. Haven't been able to see any after pictures of anyone having this done. Is this normal? I thought the belly button was internal, how is it removed?

Doctor Answers 6

Abdominoplasty by General Surgeon

To answer your question very bluntly as to why the general surgeon wishes to remove the belly button is that he/she has never been trained to do tummy tucks or cosmetic procedures. If you wish to do a tummy tuck at the time you do the hernia repair (and you would appear to be a good candidate) you should see a board certified plastic surgeon who does abdominoplasties all the time who can work with the general surgeon. He/she will expose the area, help with how to salvage the umbilicus and then correct the skin excess. One reason for removing the umbilicus is that it is easier because you do not have to worry about its blood supply. To preserve the blood supply requires significant expertise.


Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Abdominoplasty by general surgeon

I became board certified in general surgery before becoming board certified in plastic surgery.  

I would never dream of doing a tummy tuck as a general surgeon.  

However we do tummy tucks on a nearly daily basis as plastic surgeons.

Your tummy tuck is very complex but would NOT require removal of the belly button.

Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon before proceeding on your current plan.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 136 reviews

General surgeon is doing a hernia repair and tummy tuck, but wants to take the belly button? Help! Why?

Why? Probably because he is a general surgeon with little or no experience in cosmetic abdominoplasty. That is a very bad idea - both the general surgeon and the taking of the belly button. Get a consult with a plastic surgeon that is willing to work with the general surgeon. If the general surgeon is not willing to do that, find another surgeon. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Abdominoplasty

  • Hello, and thank you for your questions in your photos. Unfortunately, it sounds like you have a very large hernia which may cause some difficulty while trying to perform the abdominoplasty. Although the general surgeon may be able to perform an abdominoplasty, you may also consider having this procedure done by a board certified plastic surgeon in your area who may work consultation with the general surgeon. We frequently will assist of the general surgeons in our areas on these procedures. There certainly will be some cosmetic deformity without an umbilicus. You can discuss all of this with her plastic surgeon and there may be some thoughts regarding consideration for a delayed reconstruction for a bellybutton at a later date if you lose a bellybutton due to blood vessel concerns. Best of luck with your decision.

John J. O'Brien, Jr., MD
Saint Petersburg Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Tummy tuck and hernia

You should consult with a plastic surgeon.  I have seen many cases like yours and I have never had to sacrifice the belly button.  The best would be for the plastic surgeon and general surgeon to work together.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

General surgeon is doing a hernia repair and tummy tuck, but wants to take the belly button

I think my first question for you is why would you have a general surgeon rather than a plastic surgery do a tummy tuck. It is very rare to leave a patient without a belly button and properly performed, there should not be an increased risk of infection by leaving the belly button there.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 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.