Is "Drawstring" Tummy Tuck Incision Procedure Feasible?

I know that some surgeries (kidney transplant, breast augmentation) have been performed with incisions through the belly button. Have Tummy Tuck procedures ever been tried by cutting excess skin around the belly button, and then tightening skin (drawstring fashion)? Is this even feasible, to hide scarring in belly button area?

Doctor Answers 16

Not as bad an idea as others suggest.

We now perform great breast lifts by removing excess skin in a purse-string fashion around the areola. Unfortunately, the key to this procedure is the reshaping of the underlying breast tissue. There is no equivalence with the tummy tuck.
Yet, a small amount of skin that hangs over the top of the belly button can be easily removed in an aesthetic and pleasing manner.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Great idea, but it wont work.

It has been tried and nearly all of them had to be converted to the traditional Tummy Tuck. I have not performed this surgery. I too concerned about the quality result rather than the extent of the scar. Ultimately, the scar length should relate to the amount of skin removal and tightening. So you would not be removing very much skin.

Keep thinking!

Michael J. Brown, MD

Michael J. Brown, MD
Ashburn Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

A "drawstring" Tummy Tuck would look awful


This is a creative idea, but would lead to a terrible result. While some surgeries can be performed through the belly button, these operations just use the belly button as an access site. They make a small incision within or around the belly button to perform the surgery and then close the incision when they are done. They are not resecting any skin during their procedures. Now, it is correct that you can perform an endoscopic plication of your rectus fascia (your six pack) through a belly button incision. However, if you tried to resect any skin and then bunch it all up and sew it to the umbilicus stalk, it would look like a mess. There would be a bunched up appearance with pleats and folds in the skin that would not go away. The advice I have for you is to have a traditional abdominoplasty. While it may seem scary to have an incision, for the most part these incisions heal very well and the benefit is well worth the tradeoff of an incision.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD
Shafer Plastic Surgery
New York City

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Will not work in almost all circumstances

The key to a good tummy tuck is not just to cut out extra skin, but to also address the underlying abdominal musculature and contour. This cannot be done with only an incision around the belly button in most cases. I would discourage this option in almost all cases.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Not a good idea

This is a very common question. Unfortunately, tightening up skin around the umbilicus doesn't work too well. It often distorts the umbilicus. It also is very difficult to tighten the muscles from this approach. Furthermore, the skin further away from the umbilicus both above and below, will not be treated successfully.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

"Drawstring" tummy tuck?

This would be a great thing, if it would actually work. Unfortunately, using a pursestring-type tension on the abdomen would not pull the skin in the desired directions. 

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Drawstring tummy tuck procedure

Yes, in rare occasions this has been done but it rarely causes a satisfactory result and more commonly leaves persistently lax skin and a pleated appearance.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

"Drawstring" tummy tuck doesn't work and will look very bad.

Simple rule of biogeometrics (I just made up that word): The more skin that has to be removed, the longer the incision has to be.  Most abdominplasties remove large amounts of skin so long incisions are unavoidable.  If a surgeon tries to cheat, that patient will end up with unsightly irregularties that can be fixed only by extending the incision.  By the way,this "law" applies to all operations.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

A drawstring tummy tuck is doomed to failure

Any attempt to excise redundant abdominal skin in a circular pattern around the navel and then gathering the resultant defect by "drawstring "around the navel is doomed to failure. In the first place, technically this is virtually impossible to do. But if it could be done, the end result would be a grossly distorted navel with a myriad of skin pleats radiating in a sunburst like fashion out from the navel. A traditional tummy tuck incision is still the best way to go.

David A. Ross, MD (retired)
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Drawstring" Tummy Tuck incision

As you can read from the expert posters here on this forum your issue and possible resultant question are NOT a good idea. I like the thought but the result will NEVER be acceptable.

Best of luck from Miami, Dr. B

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 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.