Belly button looks very narrow after tummy tuck, is it normal?

I had a tummy tuck with a minor hernia repair 16 weeks ago. My belly button has been very narrow after surgery. I can barely put a Qtip in there and it feels very shallow. When I try to clean it, the Qtip has a mild odor afterwards. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 5

Belly button appearance after tummy tuck

Hello 626mommy- Every plastic surgeon does procedures differently including the creation of belly buttons. After pulling your abdominal skin down and tighter, your surgeon created a new hole in your skin through which s/he brought your original belly button (umbilicus). The appearance of the umbilical opening after this maneuver is determined by many factors, but the most important one is how s/he cut the new hole in the skin. Your belly button can be easily made less narrow (more button shape!) by excising some of the skin on both sides of it. Your surgeon has probably already discussed this with you. If not, just ask him/her. Regarding the odor, clean with hydrogen peroxide once and thereafter just clean in shower well and dry with hair dryer if necessary. If moisture accumulates, then place corner of gauze through opening during the day, so it can stay dry (until the opening is opened surgically a bit further). Good luck.

Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Normal is in the eye of the beholder...

but my normal differs from what you have. And I would suggest seeing your surgeon about options from extending the excision laterally to z-plasties on the incisions. Your surgeon must listen to your desires and formulate a plan that can accomplish them.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Belly button looks very narrow after tummy tuck, is it normal?

Yes the bb appears in a very vertical dimension. But revision might increase the scar appearance. Best to discuss with your surgeon.

Belly button

Every surgeon has a different technique for how they re-create the belly button. Some just make a slit, others make a circle, some a chevron varies significantly. If it doesn't open up after 6 months of healing, then you may be a candidate for a revision. Make sure you are evaluated by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Good Luck!

Jeffrey Gusenoff, MD
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Belly button technique

Because of the amount of tissue removed, the tension in the skin after tummy tuck goes up and down rather than side to side. This tends to narrow and elongate the belly button in a vertical direction. I compensate for that by making an upside-down V-shaped incision in the skin that is sutured to the belly button's cut edge, stenting it opened. I also anchor the base of the belly button down to the abdominal fascia to maintain depth. At four months, I would not expect a significant change other than the scar fading.

John Cassel, MD (in memoriam)
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.