Can My Belly Button Scar Be Fixed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, Hello! I used to have my bellybutton pierced around a year ago. I loved it until it got severely infected and I was forced to take it out. However, now there is this medium sized swollen scar where my piercing used to be. Is there anyway that the doctor could remove this or make it look less noticeable. I am a little self conscious to where two-piece bathing suits now because it tends to look like I have two belly buttons!!

A: Unfortunately, piercings do occasionally get infected. Even though the piercing is removed to resolve the infection, the inflammatory process causes a reactive scar to form along the entire length of the old piercing tract. This results in a raised or hypertrophic scar on the outside. That scar you have from an infected belly button piercing is a common one that I see. There is actually a ‘tube’ of scar that extends from the outer scar inward towards the skin that lies the inside of the belly button. This is an easy problem to improve by scar revision by removing the entire scar along its tract and then closing it. This will leave a very small fine line scar on the outside that is flat where the raised scar now sits. This can be done in the office under local anesthesia. 

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana