What Happens to the Belly Button During a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a terrific way to recapture a flat, firm stomach after pregnancy or significant weight loss. By removing excess folds of skin and fat, tightening the abdominal muscles and re-draping the skin more tightly over the stomach, tummy tuck greatly improves the appearance of a flabby or protruding midsection.

One of the common questions that comes up in tummy tuck consultations with Dr. Rafael Cabrera and the Plastic Surgery Specialists of Boca Raton team is, what happens to the belly button during surgery?

How Tummy Tuck Affects the Belly Button

To begin the tummy tuck procedure, the plastic surgeon creates a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen (right above the pubic hairline). The surgeon creates an additional incision around the belly button, freeing it from the surrounding skin but keeping it attached to its “stalk” in the abdominal wall.

The surgeon separates the abdominal skin from the underlying structures up to the ribcage. After removing saggy, wrinkled skin and unwanted fat from the stomach, they pull down the skin tightly to ensure the stomach is flat and taut. The surgeon creates a new opening for the belly button in the skin and pulls it through. (To understand this, visualize pulling a shirt’s button through a buttonhole.)

When the procedure has been completed, the belly button resides in its original position. Rather, it is the skin surrounding the belly button that has moved.

The exception to this rule is the mini tummy tuck procedure, which is usually performed on women with a small amount of loose skin and fat under the belly button. The surgical improvements are limited to the lower abdomen, and the belly button is not modified at all.

When the tummy tuck procedure is performed correctly by an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Cabrera, the belly button looks completely natural. It usually looks even better than it did before the surgery! The best plastic surgeons understand that an attractive, natural-looking belly button is critical to the overall aesthetic outcomes of surgery. One of the fastest ways to spot a poorly performed tummy tuck is an uneven or asymmetrical belly button.

If you are considering tummy tuck surgery and have additional questions, Dr. Cabrera encourages you to schedule a consultation at our practice. Please call or email us to request an appointment.


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