Q: Dr. Eppley, I am a woman who is interested in umbilicoplasty. I have attached one photo which is similar to how my bellybutton looks. I am not certain if it is a hernia as I have had this my entire life. I am wondering how if an umbilicoplasty procedure could successfully change my outie bellybutton into an innie bellybutton, even if it is not a hernia.
A: The umbilicoplasty procedure involves a variety of small procedure to reshape the belly button or umbilicus. It can be done t change an outie to an innie as you desire or to remake an umbilicus lost from prior surgeries. An outie belly button may or may not represent an actual hernia. If you stick your finger and push the outie in…and feel an inner ring or hole and the outie pushes into an innie…then it is a hernia. If you push on it and the outie simply gets flattened but does not push in, then it is not a hernia, it is just a ‘button of skin’ so to speak. It is not possible to answer that question by just looking at your picture but I suspect, given your young age and perhaps not having children (??) that your outie is not a true hernia. Eitehr way, an umbilicoplasty can convert an outie into an innie whether it is a hernia or not, just some slightly different techniques are used to do it. An umbilicoplasty can be done under just local and, at the most, some IV sedation as a simple outpatient procedure. There is no real recovery from it.
Dr. Barry Eppley