Is my Bellybutton Going to Heal Properly? (photo)

I am almost two months post-op for abdominoplasty. I also had breast augmentation and fairly extensive liposuction. Everything has healed well except my belly button. It was very deep and yellowish inside, so I went to see my dr. He put me on antibiotics for 10 days. Since then, it has closed in the back but is still yellowish/whitish inside. There is no fever or streaking in area and no pain. There is no foul smell or significant discharge.

Doctor Answers 11

Healing after surgery...

It’s not unusual for patients to experience delayed healing in the peri-umbilical region following abdominoplasty.This occurs for a variety of reasons including the poor vascularity of the umbilical stalk, the indented shape of the area, the potential for infection in the area and tension on the wound closure.
In the majority of cases, wound disruption is treated with dressing changes.If infection is present, antibiotics are added to the treatment regimen.In most cases, wounds respond to this approach with excellent results.Rarely, a scar revision is necessary at a later date.
Your pictures suggest that your wounds are healing nicely.Under these circumstances, it’s appropriate to see your plastic surgeon frequently and follow his directions.In most cases, this will give an excellent result.

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Umbilicus healing problems after an abdominoplasty

Delayed healing of the umbilicus is not uncommon at all.  All that is required is dressing changes and keeping the area clean and it should heal fine. Because the umbilicus has to get its blood supply up through the stalk there are several points where this blood supply can become constricted.  Swelling will also contribute to the problems.  All you can do is wait it out, follow instructions and let it heal.  If it does not heal right a minor scar revision may be indicated. 

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Delayed Healing of the Belly Button

It is hard to determine from this picture how involved the wound is exactly.   Regardless, I think there are plenty of options for improvement once the scar fully heals.   I would maintain close followup with your plastic surgeon to ensure the most appropriate wound/scar regimine is maintained.


I wish you a safe and healthy recovery!!


Dr. Gill

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Is my Bellybutton Going to Heal Properly?

Thanks for the question and for the photo. Unfortunately when the photo is enlarged enough to see detail it is quite blurred, and hard to evalutate. 

It does sound as though you and your surgeon have treated this in an appropriate manner. It is either healed or healing. If there was a significant amount of tissue loss, it may be that the navel will be smaller than it should, and a touch-up procedure may be in order for some time at least 6 months out.


Keep follow up appointments with your surgeon. Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Is my Bellybutton Going to Heal Properly?

Posted photo is out of focus so very hard to tell exactly the issue. I think you may need exploration of the area. Best for in person examination. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Wound healing after a tummy tuck

It sounds as though you're getting the appropriate treatment for you wound.  Make sure you go back to your plastic surgeon if you have any further concerns.

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Yes, Your Belly Button Will Heal

Because you had a infection around your belly button, the healing will be in a circular fashion which will definitely lead to a smaller, tighter belly button.  Unfortunately, most attempts at preventing stenosis (tight opening) of the belly button under these conditions is prone to failure.  I recommend you discuss this with your plastic surgeon, but don't worry too much about it.  At about 9 months, a simple revision under local will be possible and the ultimate result should be excellent. 

Concerns about Umbilicus after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question and picture.  What you have experienced  does occur occasionally after tummy tuck surgery. It is likely that there has been some healing problems secondary to decreased blood flow to the area. You will find that the  majority of the umbilicus will go on to heal but will likely be relatively small/tight. Dilating exercises (for example with a finger and/or marble) may be helpful.

 I would suggest that you continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon; . It is possible that revisionary surgery will be helpful many months/year down the line.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Belly button constriction after tummy tuck

If the circulation to the belly button is poor, or the scar is aggressive the belly button can constrict and have a pale color in the inside. After full healing, about six to twelve a revision might be able to open the improve the belly button appearance.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Belly button healing after tummy tuck

Belly buttons are the slowest and last part to heal after a tummy tuck.  It appears a little "stenotic" or tight to my viewing of your photo and the red color of the scar will likely fade with time. I recommend getting some foam ear plugs and putting one in the belly button each night to "stretch" the diameter of the orifice somewhat. In addition, try to get a finger (even if its your small finger) and put it in your belly button and do circular massages frequently. This may sound weird, but it is an important part of belly button healing.  Make sure to continue following up with your plastic surgeon.  I hope this helps!

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