What Are the Chances of Necrosis of Belly Button with Tummy Tuck and Umbilical Hernia Repair?

I will be having an umbilical hernia repaired by a general surgeon at the time of my tummy tuck procedure. My PS has warned me there is a chance of umbilical necrosis, which has me a little worried. I appreciate knowing there is a real chance of necrosis happening, but would like to put it into perspective. Is necrosis common following a hernia repair of this type, and if not what is the percentage likelihood of it happening? I am 5'7" and 150 lbs., good overall health.

Doctor Answers 6

Umbilical necrosis risk is increased with multiple periumbilical procedures

Unfortunately, umbilical necrosis is something that can happen with any surgery that involves making incisions around your umbilicus.  This risk is increased as more procedures are performed and, therefore, the umbilicus is further stressed and potentially left with reduced blood supply.  However, despite the increased risk of umbilical necrosis, the scheduled combined procedure may remain the best way to address your needs.  I would encourage talking to your plastic surgeon about how he or she handles umbilical necrosis and what you might expect as a long term outcome if you are faced with this complication.  You can then best determine if that risk and outcome is acceptable to you.

Spokane Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Belly button necrosis after hernia repair and tummy tuck. It can happen.

It is not common for this to happen but I do not think a realistic percentage can be assigned to this happening. Each surgical case is different. Ask your plastic what he/she thinks the chances are.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Umbilical Hernia Repair and Skin Necrosis?

Thank you for the question.

There many variables involved in the potential risk of skin necrosis after umbilical hernia repair.  I, too  prefer to deal with the umbilical  hernia  myself,  as opposed to having another surgeon in both. There are " techniques" involving  tissue handling and preservation that allow for increased maintenance of blood flow to the umbilicus the plastic surgeons in general are well-trained to perform.

Best wishes.


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

Umbilical risks are higher with hernia repair

The umbilical hernia comes through a defect in the base of the umbilicus, and without extreme care the hernia repair with the tummy tuck can strangulate the umbilicus and necrosis can result. I find I can reduce risks when I do things myself. Not that all general surgeons are rough, it is just that the plastic surgeon has a better overall sense of the procedure.

Best of luck,


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

Problem more likely with concurrent hernia/tummytuck

tough to put a number on the chance of tissue loss in this situation....rare with tummytuck alone, but increased chance of problem with umbilical hernia repair at same time. in the event of trouble, once it heals, a new umbilicicus could be made with local tissue. hopes this helps....don't let this worry hold you back!!!

Bruce K. Barach, MD
Schenectady Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Belly button necrosis with tummy tuck and hernia repair.

While it is true that repairing the umbilical hernia and doing the tummy tuck increases the chance of belly button necrosis, there is no way to put a percentage risk on it.  The size of the hernia and how thinned out the skin has become play a factor; the larger the hernia and the thinner the skin, the more risk of the belly button becoming necrotic.  Necrosis means the skin dies, turns black and becomes a scab.

I agree with Dr. Johnson.  We deal with umbilical hernias and tummy tucks all of the time and have found some 'tricks' that help preserve the blood circulation to the belly button. I usually feel better repairing the hernia myself.  That being said, there are no guarantees.  Even with a tummy tuck without a hernia repair, there is a risk of the belly button becoming necrotic.  Talk with your plastic surgeon and get some reassurance.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 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.