Umbilicoplasty or Tummy Tuck for Frowning Belly Button?

I am 47 years old, 5'6" 120 lbs. I weight train since 1986. Around 1980, I gained quite a bit of weight in short time (was around 155 lbs) and still paying for the repercussions! In 1989, I had breast augmentation with a benelli breast lift.

That same laxity plagues me on my stomach! Most women would love to look like me, but I hate my frowning belly button and puckery skin. The issue seems more in the area above the belly button. Is there a benelli-type procedure for me; an umbilicoplasty maybe? Would rather have belly button scar and covered with tattoo than tummy tuck.

Doctor Answers 18

Tummy tuck

Your "unhappy belly button" appears to be due to some extra abdominal tissue.  I think that an abdominoplasty will get rid of the extra tissue.  You will have a scar around  your current belly button.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Umbilicoplasty or tummy tuck for frowning belly button?

Unfortunately, there is no great procedure for tightening the skin just around the belly button or just above the belly button without doing a tummy tuck, freeing the skin up and pulling the skin down tightly.  I suppose I should mention a reverse tummy tuck as well, where the incision is beneath each breast AND CONNECTS ACROSS THE MIDLINE, but this is not commonly done, probably does not hold up as well as a traditional tummy tuck as you are pulling up against gravity, and the scar between the breasts has a higher risk of becoming a raised, red, hypertrophic scar.  Local excisions or "umbilicoplasties" trying to remove and tuck the skin locally into the belly button are much less effective, AND leave unsightly, gathered, "starburst" scars around the belly button.  Judging by your photo, you have muscle/fascial laxity as well, and would be a good candidate for a full tummy tuck with fascial tightening. 

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Umbilicoplasty or Tummy Tuck for Frowning Belly Button?

Based on your photo, I do not believe any isolated procedure around your belly button would work for you.  You can get a nice contours and a change of your belly button with an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and I would believe that is your best surgical option.

For more information, please go to my website at:

Garrett A. Wirth, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Umbilicoplasty or Tummy Tuck for frowning belly button not recommended

What you wish cannot happen. I would politely refuse to attempt any correction upon your umbilicus or tummy areas. You will not be happy. Best of Luck.

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

Horizontal or frowning umbilicus

Improving the appearance of your umbilicus would require either a full Lipo-Abdominoplasty or Lower LipoAbdominoplasty. An isolated Umbilicoplasty in view of the amount of skin laxity that you exhibit is unrealistic.

Todd B. Koch, MD
Buffalo Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 36 reviews


What you are referring to is similar to what was performed for your breasts. It involves removing skin and then suturing the resulting skin to the umbilicus. Not an ideal procedure and will not resolve the problem

You need to see a board certified plastic surgeon to see if you are a candidate for a tummy tuck as it appears that the majority of the loose skin you have is around and above the umbilicus.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

TUBF - TranUmbilical Belly Flattening

However logical it may seem, the TUBF (TransUmbilical Belly Flattening) procedure does not exist. Not for lack of trying but because it yields poor results (just like A Benelli procedure which is pushed to its limits).

To understand why it does not work, visualize your basic restaurant napkin tucked in a wine glass. Look at the appearance of the nap king cloth as it traverses the rim of the glass. Although a large portion of the napkin CAN be tucked into the glass (IE into the belly button and removed...) but the cloth remains wavy and folded.

In essence, such an operation replaced one deformity with another. It takes some periumbilical looseness of skin and gives a flatter area with a pleated, folded area of a sun burst scar around the umbilicus. Personally, I think it is a poor exchange and would not offer the "TUBF" to my patients.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Tummy tuck is vastly superior to umbilicoplasty

Very few patients actually want a tummy tuck - if alternatives existed which yielded similar results, you can be certain that plastic surgeons would recommend them.

That being said, your redundant skin and muscle laxity (looseness) will be optimally corrected with a formal tummy tuck. The incision can be hidden quite low, yielding excellent cosmetic results.

Hope this helps - best of luck.

Sam Jejurikar, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Hidden belly button needs a tummy tuck

The loose skin that is above your belly button is causing the "frowning" appearance. I agree with the other doctors that is is simply not possible to tighten the skin just around the belly button. Plus the amount of excess skin that is present would also make that a bad choice in your case. I'm afraid that in this situation the only option is the larger operation of a tummy tuck but it will give you an excellent result.

Robert B. Pollack, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Tummy Tuck vs Umbilicoplasty

I agree that you would be much happier with a tummy tuck than with an umbilicoplasty. From your photo, you appear to be very good candidate for a tummy tuck with some liposuction of your flanks. Unfortunately, you will need to stop your weight training for a few weeks following either procedure.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 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.