Is the Umbilical Float Tummy Tuck a Good Idea for Me?

I am scheduled for Breast Lift, Implant Exchange, and Tummy Tuck. I am 5'7 and weigh 135 pounds. My doctor said I don't have enough skin to pull down during the tummy tuck and that I will likely have a small vertical scar where the old belly button was. He is giving me the option of the TT with small vertical scar or doing the Umbilical Float TT and my belly button would be lowered. I have a long torso,but some skin laxity above the belly button. What would be best?

Doctor Answers 11

Umbilical float variant of Tummy tuck

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An umbilical float can be considered in those rare cases where a patient's loose abdominal skin is mainly in the lower tummy, there is a minor degree of loose skin just above the belly button, and the belly button is relatively high and would still look good even if it was lowered by a centimeter or two...just enough to stretch out that mild amount of loosed skin just above the belly button.  If the belly button is NOT high but instead is in a normal position like yours, it is not a good would be lowered too low and would not look good.  If the loose skin above the belly button is too great, as in your case, pulling that tight would lower the belly button too much and it would not look good.  And, although we are not seeing a side view, you appear to have a fair amount of loose fascia (diastasis recti) extending into the upper tummy that would need to be tightened as well.  It appears that you would benefit from a full tummy tuck for the best correction, but you would have a small vertical scar in the lower tummy from closure of the old belly button site.  In general, this is a reasonable trade-off.

Is the Umbilical Float Tummy Tuck a Good Idea for Me

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Thank you for sending your question and photo.  An examination would be needed to fully answer your question. In viewing your photos, you would benefit from a full tummy tuck. I would not float the belly button. Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. Best wishes.  

Umbilical float tummy tuck

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No. It is probably not a good idea. You will be better off doing a standard tummy tuck even if a small vertical scar is needed. Also there is a good chance  you will not need the vertical scar.

Ernest D. Cronin, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon

I would FLOAT your bellybutton

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The procedure you are referring to is also called a "modified" tummy tuck. It is rarely used and reserved for those unique physiques whereby the person has a higher than normal belly button. From what i can tell this could be you. I have had several very nice results utilizing this technique. The bonus is there is no scar around the belly button. Good luck

Charles Virden, MD
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Is the umbilical float tummy tuck a good idea?

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Looking at your photo, it appears that you have a fair amount of excess skin with some visible folds just above your umbilicus.  In order to tighten that skin to the same extent possible with a vertical scar, your umbilicus would have to be significantly lowered, which will look strange.  The vertical scar is generally pretty small, and will probably end up pretty low on your abdomen. 

Good luck.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You should continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon in order to receive formal evaluations and maintain your doctor patient relationship.

Craig S. Rock, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Keep the belly button where it is with tummy tuck

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There was literature years back which discussed moving the belly button down a centimeter or two in a mini tummy tuck where skin laxity did not allow a full procedure. The concept made sense though as results are analyzed, the belly button belongs in only one place and if lowered the result can look 'wrong'. The natural belly button is located along a line at the top of the pelvic bone. If you hook your thumb around your waist, your index finger will point to the belly button. Also the distance from your feet to head is divided by the belly button at the divine proportion phi or 1.618, an number which is repeated throughout nature. Perhaps we should stick to God's plan and leave your belly button right where it is.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Is the Umbilical Float Tummy Tuck a Good Idea for Me?

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Great question. Based upon you history posted and the photo I would offer the small vertical scar option as the better of the two choices. Best of luck. 

Umbilical float procedure is not a great tummy tuck

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I've tried the umbilical float procedure on a few patients and have always regretted the decision - I can never seem to achieve the degree of supre-umbilical skin excision that I can with a 'full' tummy tuck with a short vertical umbilical hole closure. This is just my own experience, but I don't recommend the umbilical float procedure to my patients.

Vertical Scar

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In my experience the vertical scar is a better option. A low umbilicus looks odd and is difficult to hide and very difficult to correct if it is too low. I think you may have more laxity than you think and the vertical incision should be pretty small.  They will usually heal quite well and can be hidden relatively easily.  Good Luck!

Brian Klink, MD
Vacaville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Don't float in your case

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In looking at your pictures, I would expect you'd be able to undergo a full abdominoplasty without the need for a small vertical incision.  If you do need it, ie. your skin around your belly button can't reach the lower incision, a small vertical scar is not a big deal.  Additionally, once the skin has had a chance to relax, you'll be able to remove it (the vertical scar) if it bothers you.  I think you'll find the float procedure doesn't remove enough skin to make you happy... and it can create an unnaturally low belly button if agressive skin removal is undertaken.

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.