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​What is an Umbilicoplasty?


In the past few months, several news stories have reported an increase in popularity of a plastic surgery procedure designed to fix the shape or position of the belly button. An umbilicoplasty is a stand-alone cosmetic surgery option that can transform an “innie” belly button into an “outtie” or reposition it due to asymmetrical concerns on the part of the patient.

Over the past decade or so, social media and the prevalence of high-definition camera phones have caused more and more people to become self-aware of their bodies. This phenomenon is most prevalent in the summertime when people shed their winter clothes for bathing suits which expose more skin. As such, it’s understandable how more and more people are opting for plastic surgery – but is there really a new trend in belly button surgeries?

Why Do We Have a Belly Button?

A belly button is a scar that results from the cutting of the umbilical cord which connects the baby to the mother. The size and shape of the belly button are highly dependent on genetic factors but can also be dependent upon exactly how the doctor cuts the umbilical cord. The resulting scar will determine if a person has an innie or an outtie belly button.

As people get older, the belly button can change due to a wide variety of factors such as pregnancy, weight gain/loss, or even injuries. The vast majority of people who get umbilicoplasty procedures are women. This is mostly because the look and size of their belly buttons were changed due to a pregnancy.

Why Get an Umbilicoplasty?

Social media and the perception of one’s own body isn’t the only reason a person might want to get an umbilicoplasty. Sometimes pregnancy will cause a belly button to become herniated and change the size, shape, or position.

Massive weight loss can also cause changes in the appearance. The vast majority of people who opt for this surgery do so for aesthetic reasons solely. There is no medical purpose other than one’s perception of their body.

The other reasons for getting an umbilicoplasty can include:

  • Turning “outtie” into an “innie”
  • Rejuvenation of the abdomen
  • Replacing belly button that was lost due to prior injury or surgery
  • Reduce the size of the belly button
  • Scar removal (previous operations or piercings)
  • Excess skin elimination

Are People Really Getting This Procedure?

Yes and no. Despite what the news media is reporting, many plastic surgeons aren’t reporting a massive rush of patients looking to change the size and shape of their belly button unless it was deformed from pregnancy or prior injury.

The vast majority of people who opt for an umbilicoplasty are coming in for other procedures such as tummy tucks and tightening of the excess skin on the stomach. They wind up getting the belly button procedure done at the same time. There’s a limit on what plastic surgery can do to fix a perceived asymmetrical belly button.

Is It Worth It?

This procedure is worth it to a point – there are many instances where the plastic surgeon can confidently change the size, shape, or position of the belly button. However, under certain circumstances, the chances of a good outcome can prove to be a bit more challenging.

Some people will want an umbilicoplasty because they feel that their belly button is not perfectly symmetrical with the rest of their body. It might be “off” by 1mm. In cases like this, it’s downright hard, if not impossible for the surgeon to achieve 100% symmetry. A good surgeon will let the patient know that the human body is not designed to be perfectly symmetrical. It’s the little imperfections that make people unique and beautiful.

If every single human had a perfectly symmetrical body, it wouldn’t look right to the human eye. The small imperfections of the human body combine as a whole to make us look human. Otherwise, we would look like life-like robots that you see in science fiction movies.


If the umbilicoplasty is performed by itself, a patient may return to work or school the next day. However, if it’s performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck or umbilical hernia repair, then there may be 1-2 weeks of recovery time needed.

Results will become apparent as soon as the surgical area starts to heal and the scars fade – usually in a few months after the procedure date. The final results are evident by the 1-year anniversary of the surgery.

Risks of Umbilicoplasty?

As with any elective surgery, there can be risks associated with getting an umbilicoplasty. Delayed wound healing, excessive scarring, and infection can all occur. Another risk is potential dissatisfaction with the overall aesthetics. Under or over-correction may occur, or the surgeon might have a very challenging time getting the exact placement you’re looking for. Speak with your surgeon about any concerns you might have.

Plastic Surgery in Dallas

If you’re considering getting a tummy tuck or other work performed on your abdominal area, give Dr. Adams a call at (214) 965-9885 or schedule an appointment. Dr. Adams is a nationally-renowned plastic surgeon who can help transform the look and feel of your body.


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