Q: I want to get my outie turned into an inne bellybutton. I don’t care for how it looks now, I think it looks weird. I have always wanted to get it fixed so I could look like everyone else. Can you tell me about how this is done and what is involved?
A: Belly buttons are nothing more the formation of scar and is actually the body’s first scar. The umbilical cord, which supplied precious nutrients to the unborn baby, is clamped off shortly after birth. It is clamped off an inch or two from where it exits from the baby’s stomach and the placenta and much of the cord is removed. The remaining stalk of the umbilical cord goes on to die and fall off, leaving a small scar we know as the belly button. For most people (90%), the scar is concave and is an innie. For the remaining 10%, the scar tissue protrudes slightly from the body creating an outie.
An outie can be changed to an innie with an umbilicoplasty procedure. This is a small outpatient operation done under IV sedation or local anesthesia. A small incision is made on the inside of the belly button. Scar tissue between the underside of the bellybutton and the abdominal wall is removed. The underside of the outie is then swen down to the abdominal wall, changing its appearance to an innie. Dissolveable sutures are used and the only dressing is a band-aid. One can shower the next day and not worry about getting the area wet. One should avoid strenuous exercise for one week and no sit-ups or crunches for one month after the procedure.
In women who have had children, their outie could be an umbilical hernia particularly if it did not exist prior to pregnancies. This is a common finding during tummy tuck surgery. Since you are a male, your outie is unlikely to be a hernia.
Dr. Barry Eppley