Is It Safe To Float The Belly Button In A Mini-Tummy Tuck?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I read your comment on floating belly button.  I saw a plastic surgeon recently who said it would be best for me to repair my abdominal muscles all the way to top, float the belly button and then reattach it right where it was as I have almost no loose abdominal skin. (mini-tummy tuck)  It sounds good in terms of a lower and smaller scar but the “cutting the cord” idea really bothers me and worse since I saw it on Youtube!  Since the belly button is sort of the center of connection for mothers, I just want to know if it is ok and safe and if it can really be reattached?  Thank you.

A: While I can appreciate your concern, you have nothing to fear. The umbilicus, or belly button, is really nothing more than a band of scar that runs from the midline of the union of the rectus abdominal muscles to the overlying skin. While it is a remnant or scar from the original umbilical cord, it serves no useful purpose other than its aesthetics….and that it would look weird if someone didn’t have one. In a mini-tummy tuck it is very common to release it from its attachment to the fascia of the muscles so it is out of the way for a complete vertical repair of the loose rectus muscles. It is easily sutured back down either to its original location or lower depending upon how much abdominal skin is removed. This is a perfectly safe procedure and I have never seen it to be a problem afterwards.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana