Secondary Tummy Tuck

Q: Dr. Eppley, I don’t think I want a reverse secondary tummy tuck, I really do not want the scar, so probably no need to come back in and have him evaluate that.  I still want to fix the skin laxity above my belly button. You said we could do a full tummy tuck, but I want to get clarity on a few things before we go any further. During my last tummy tuck, the Dr cut my stalk and moved my belly button down, therefore I only have blood supply from my skin and because of that what complication can arise? Here are a few questions I have for you if you don’t mind passing along. 

1. Since my belly button was cut from the stalk and moved, what are the chances of getting necrosis and my belly button dying ?
2. What can be done if it does die? What is the wound care process?
3. Can it be re-attached to the stalk during surgery? 
4. What can be done to prevent my belly button dying?
5. If the risk of my belly button dying is too high, and I could be looking at months of wound care and belly button revisions, what are my other options to correct the aesthetics? Just liposuction and another mini?
6. I really want my loose skin fixed above the belly button, I just understandably do not want to lose my belly button. A: In answer to your belly button questions about further tummy tuck surgery

A: In answer to your secondary tummy tuck questions:

1) It is impossible to give an exact percentage of this potential risk. Suffice it to say it is not zero. But I would say it is more likely to survive than die

2) If it undergoes necrosis, the wound will have to go through the long healing process which will take a few months.

3) During a full tummy tuck, the existing outer belly button and its stalk are separated from the overlying skin which is removed and then a new hole made in the outer skin to bring it back through.

4) The only way to eliminate the risk of not having a belly button survival problem is to not do a full tummy tuck.

5) Liposuction and another mimi tummy tuck is the way to eliminate the risk of any belly button survival issues.

6) No one of course wants to lose their belly button. But given your prior tummy tuck history and your optimal aesthetic abdominal reshaping goals, that is the risk that has to be taken.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana