Will my Belly Button Heal or do I Need Medical Assistance?

I am 13 days post op from a tummy tuck and my doctor instructed a nurse to remove the tape off of my belly button. I was actually horrified at what I saw and don't know if I should be scared and consult the doctor again or just wait and wait for the belly button to continue healing.

The nurse said that at first the belly button looks bad but with proper cleaning and care it will get better. I don't know what to do. I was told to clean with peroxide and then spread some ointment.

Doctor Answers 7

Tummy Tuck - Will my Belly Button Heal or do I Need Medical Assistance?

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It's hard to say but I'm concerned that you may have some tissue necrosis of the umbilicus (belly button or BB).

The photo is not clear enough to make an absolute determination - that's something you'll have to address in person with your plastic surgeon.  Localized wound care continues to be the best way to help this heal but, depending on how it heals, you may need some additional surgery.  Exactly what remains to be determined.  But I do think that the appearance of your BB is worrisome.

You also may want to consider a second and possibly a third opinion; that's never a bad idea if you feel that things are not going as you expect.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Belly button scarring after a tummy tuck

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If you find that the bellybutton is contracting and becoming “too small” steroid injection and/or massage may be useful in softening up the scar around the umbilicus.


What may or may not also be helpful is gentle dilation of the bellybutton with a small marble that can be placed in the  bellybutton (and taped over). This may be left in place overnight and may help avoid continued contraction of the umbilicus.

Otherwise allow time for scar maturation to occur and understand that scar revision surgery may be necessary.

As with any recommendations you should receive online, I would suggest clearing it with your plastic surgeon before you begin.

I hope this helps.

Will my belly button heal or do I need medical assistance?

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Your belly button looks like it has suffered some vascular compromise, and there will likely be some loss of the belly button skin.  It is often difficult to tell how much of the belly button is involved, how deep into the tissues of the BB theblood supply was compromised.  The best approach in my opinion is to allow it to declare itself, keeping it clean with soap and water, keeping it greasy with antibiotic ointment.  Once healed, as mentioned, there may be some tendency for the skin opening to heal in and make the belly button opening too small or constricted, and some tendency to form a raised or hypertrophic scar.  Your surgeon needs to be aware of this problem and help to manage the wound care and subsequent scar management so that the best result can be achieved.  Sometimes scar or belly button revision may be needed.  Again, contact your surgeon if he or she has not seen you directly.

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Belly button not healing after tummy tuck

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As a rule, if you think you need medical attention you do. It is hard to tell from a photo just how well the belly button is doing and you should be seen by your surgeon on a regular basis until the situation is resolved. Waiting it out on your own is not a good idea.

Best of luck,


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

Belly button and tummy tuck

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You should see your PS weekly as previously stated. It is difficult to tell from your photos is you have superficial skin necrosis or full thickness loss of your entire belly button.  Close observation and wound care by your PS is your best bet

? necrotic belly button

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Your belly button looks necrotic from the photo.  Sometimes, the look can be decieving so work closely with the doctor (not the nurse) as you might need some debridement.  Wound care will eventually allow it to heal but you might need some revision later to make a better looking belly button.

Will my Belly Button Heal or do I Need Medical Assistance?

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Thanks for the posted photos. Even with the photos very hard to tell if the umbilicus is necrotic due to lost vascular flow. Seek weekly doc visits for care or obtain a second opinion. 

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.