What is a Realistic Expectation for Belly Button Scar After Full TT with Abdominal Hernia Repair?

I am getting a full TT with an umbilical hernia repair. The PS mentioned the (slim) chance of the umbilicus dying due to the blood supply needing cut for both procedures. I mentioned wanting to wear a bathing suit after surgery and he said "you will have a belly button scar." I know a new hole is cut in the TT procedure and I've seen other patients whose belly buttons look fine. Will my scar be significantly worse due to the umbilical hernia repair?? I had really hoped to show my new belly off.

Doctor Answers 14

Expectation for belly button scar after tummy tuck

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That is a loaded question. Everyone scars differently and I haven't seen any pictures of your umbilical hernia.

The main risk is associated with the blood supply to the belly button. It gets cut all the way around and then maybe nearly amputated in order to get the hernia repaired.

If your belly button lives, then it will likely look like most others.

If your belly button dies, then the resultant scar may be difficult.

No one except your surgeon who has seen you and knows your particular situation can answer that better.

I hope it goes well.

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Belly Button Scar after Tummy Tuck

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Hi there-

The appearance of the belly button after a Tummy Tuck is often one of the things that separates talented and experienced surgeons from others...

On the other hand, there are enough other variables involved in the final appearance of the belly button (including how well the patient follows instructions and the patient's biology), that even the best surgeons can't "hit a home run" every time...

I also completely agree with your surgeon that the umbilical hernia repair does increase your risks relative to someone who does not need a hernia repair. Unfortunately, this is just something you will have to accept.


Great Question

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Your question is a sign of an artful plastic surgeon.  The belly button takes great skill and patience.  I always look at a surgeon's belly button  it tells me a great deal.  You should look at your plastic surgeons before and after photos to see if you like what you see.  All plastic surgeons show their best photos so keep this in mind. 

However, you have a umbilical hernia which changes things. The skin is thin and the blood supply is sometimes compromised  therefore your surgeon is warning you of all complications.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Belly button scar after Abdominoplasty

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Performing a full TT with an umbilical hernia repair should not affect the scar around your BB. The skin incisions for the TT remain the same despite the prescence of a hernia. The only time the BB's circulation may be compromised is when there has been an extreme loss of weight, the thicknes of abdominal wall tissue is excessive or when liposuction is combined with this procedure. I hope this helps to clarify your concerns. Best wishes, Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Belly Button Complications with Tummy Tuck Surgery

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The belly button is the scar remnant where the placental blood supply entered into our body. After birth it withers and falls off leaving a scar tunnel. The attractive belly button is an innie with a slight hood over its top portion located in the center of a small depression of the tummy.

The blood supply to the belly button is made up of very small blood vessels that run along its skin and in the adjacent fat. Repeated surgery in that fact or through the belly button such as hernia repair, laparascopic surgery, re-do tummy tucks etc reduce the amount of blood flow to that skin potentially resulting in a scenario in which it will not get a sufficient amount of oxygen and die. The resulting wound may take a few weeks to heal but it results in a healed scar resembling a smaller innie belly button.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Belly Button Scar After Full TT with Abdominal Hernia Repair?

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There will be a scar around the belly button after a full tummy tuck, whether you have an umbilical hernia or not. Many of us pay a great deal of attention to belly buttons at the time of the tummy tuck, trying to make a natural looking "inny" to hid much of the surrounding scar in the shadow lines of the belly button, taking great care to NOT make the BB too large which looks very unnatural, etc.  Repairing an umbilical hernia through the stalk of the belly button after it is exposed by the raising of the abdominal flap does pose some risk to the blood supply of the skin of the belly button, and there is a risk of losing the belly button.  I work with a general surgeon in these cases, and after I raise the abdominoplasty flap he fixes the hernia usually using a small piece of mesh through an incision in the abdominal fascia from "underneath" the hernia and belly button. In this way, the belly button and its stalk are not disturbed and the blood supply is left intact.  However, there are different ways of dealing with an umbilical hernia at the time of a full tummy tuck.

Umbilical Scar after Tummy Tuck

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As your surgeon stated, there is no way to guarantee a scar will be thin and flat.  The hernia can impact the blood supply to the umbilicus, but this is only a problem if you have a very large hernia and a long umbilical stalk.  I would recommend another consultation with your plastic surgeon to go over this issue again before surgery.

What is a Realistic Expectation for Belly Button Scar After Full TT with Abdominal Hernia Repair?

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As hard as we the surgeon try we can not guarantee the outcome of any surgery especially the bb with a hernia involved. Best to have a realistic expectation. 

Hernia Repair and tummy tuck

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During a full tummy tuck, a small circle is cut around the belly button to allow removal of all the skin between your belly button and your pubis.  The goal of the surgery is to have the scar end up inside your belly button.  Many factors contribute to healing including surgical technique, your nutritional status, smoking status, prevention of infection and genetics.  


Good Luck.

Umbilical hernia and navel scarring

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The presence of an umbilical hernia should have no effect on the cosmetic appearance of the umbilicus after tummy tuck surgery. The resulting belly button will be determined by how your body heals.

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.