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Corrections for the Belly Button?

Corrections for the Belly Button?

The navel has long been an identifiable and significant feature of the human body. Beyond being the physical remnant of where we all received life from our mothers, the navel, or belly button, often invokes humanity’s sensual nature, too – a reason for it having been hidden or pedestaled by various cultures over time.

Western culture in the 21st century has the belly button more often on display, and even adorned with jewelry. Because of it’s elevated position in the culture of beauty, many wonder if they can’t make their own more aesthetically pleasing. Some ask this question from how it developed from birth, while others are seeking correction from the wear and tear of multiple pregnancies, weight gain, and even years of wearing jewelry.

Board certified plastic surgeons Dr. Robert Whitfield of Austin and Dr. Caroline Glicksman of New Jersey discuss their experience correcting the navel and who might be the best candidate.

Innie vs. Outie vs. More Common Complaints

As all people have a navel, so, too, have most identified whether they have an “innie” or an “outie.” The two states of the navel depend on the amount of scar tissue remaining after the umbilical cord was severed after birth; “outie” belly buttons have a bit more scar tissue.

While some are concerned with the look of an outie in particular, this is not the circumstance Dr. Glicksman typically finds with patients seeking navel correction. “I don’t think it’s so much the outie vs. the innie that needs to be fixed,” she admits. “But I do see a lot of women who might have had a cute earring in their belly button, went through a full-term pregnancy, and now that pretty belly button is not pretty anymore.”

The difference is Dr. Glicksman refers to damaged tissue of the navel, whether from the effects of multiple pregnancies or even that belly button earring causing skin to sag over time. These are products of bodily changes, taking what may have been a pretty navel into something that has seen wear and tear. Like other areas of the body under similar circumstances, this is a good starting point for a surgeon to make a positive correction.

A hernia may also be at work beneath the skin that needs to be addressed in order for aesthetic issues with the navel to go away. Dr. Glicksman also mentions that loose abdominal muscles following multiple pregnancies may be an issue behind the navel, causing it to outwardly look not so great. “If it is just a skin problem, we can look at each belly button and figure out how to make it a bit prettier,” says Glicksman.

Belly Button Revision

Dr. Whitfield notes that he has seen patients in the past where a previous tummy tuck or umbilical hernia went wrong, causing a poor-looking navel. Even if the muscles underneath were corrected perfectly, it may have been that the belly button was improperly dealt with after, causing aesthetic issues in healing.

“I’ve seen several instances where people need to be revised – usually from a previous tummy tuck or umbilical hernia repair that have gone wrong,” shares Dr. Whitfield. “You have to reshape the belly button, almost performing a mastopexy to create a more shapely, inward belly button.”

In this instance, Whitfield is discussing augmenting the belly button after previous surgeries to correct it. The issue could be a composite of pregnancy and jewelry wear and tear on top of inadequate handling of the navel during a tummy tuck procedure. All can be corrected at once to achieve a tight and aesthetically-pleasing navel.

Patients Are Ecstatic

The belly button seems so small a thing, yet most are acutely aware of it daily, especially those who find something off about theirs. Dr. Glicksman shares that her belly button patients are extremely happy with their results following correction, noting how much life it breathes back into situations where the midriff is exposed. “It makes patients so happy, especially younger women,” she explains. “I’m talking about the 28 to 40 something-year-olds that still want to wear a bikini.”

Like other procedures, belly button corrections do not conform to a handful of procedures all done the same way. The navel, like the breasts, face, and buttocks, is a unique feature of a unique person. The best chance at achieving a desired correction is with a board certified plastic surgeon performing a full exam to discover what is and isn’t going on, and how to address it. “For each patient, we individualize the plan based on what we see and find during the exam,” concludes Whitfield

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