Why Does My Belly Button Look Funny After My Tummy Tuck?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a tummy tuck eight months ago and, although I am happy with most of the results, my belly button afterward has always looked a little funny to me. It looks bloated for lack of a better medical description and bigger than it did before the tummy tuck. It was not a great looking belly button before the surgery but it looks no better now and even looks a little deformed. Can you tell me what is going on and how I can fix it?

A: A ‘bloated’ belly button after a tummy tuck suggests that too much of the umbilical skin is seen on the outside. This usually results from an umbilical stalk that is too long for the thickness of the tissue between the skin and the abdominal wall, pooching outward creating a mushroom or bloated appearance. An umbilicoplasty procedure can be done to shorten the stalk and pull the belly button back inward for an unbloated or more of a funnel effect to create a more natural belly button appearance.

While the creation of the ‘new’ belly button in a tummy tuck is the most minor part of a tummy tuck, it along with the scar line is the most heavily seen feature of the result. Shortening the umbilical stalk, keeping the new opening in the skin small, and removing a funnel of fat between the skin and the abdominal wall all help to create an inward shape or pull to the recreated belly button and allows the scar line to be situated in a more obscure location.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana