Whoever mentions hot summers is also thinking belly button. And yes, Toronto may not have an ocean close by, but it has 250 000 lakes, representing 20% of the world fresh water. So, yes, bikinis and speedos are proudly worn in Ontario! Summer is also a time where all of us want to get back in shape so the belly-button often becomes the “centre of the universe,” so to speak. Not to mention the countless Instagram and Facebook selfies!
Belly button surgery – aka umbilicoplasty – has become a high demand in my clinic in Toronto. Most commonly, women want their pre-baby belly button back. Others had a piercing and wanted a repair, while some had an outie and wished to have an innie. Finally, some have a small hernia that requires surgical attention.
Ladies are by far the main gender asking for this procedure. A young belly button is narrow and vertically oblong. With pregnancies, the belly button stretches and become more horizontal.
Often with pregnancies, stretch marks will form around the belly button. Small radiating marks might be correctable with an umbilicoplasty. A larger amount of stretch marks – aka striae – will be better addressed with a variety of tummy-tuck (abdominoplasty) procedures, hence the importance of seeing a plastic surgeon who is versed in ALL techniques and options available.
Men also request belly button reshaping, either because of an old piercing, old tattoos, outie correction, or because of a small hernia from heavy-lifting (body-builders) or when associated with a small umbilical hernia.
A common way I perform umbilicoplasty is a donut-style excision of the redundant skin; I can also remove an old piercing that way. Umbilical piercings were popular 10 years ago but the trend has faded and patients are now left with a tract – or a hole – that is not aesthetically pleasing. I first close the belly button defect by anchoring the inner part of the belly button down to the muscle fascia and in doing so, I can shape the belly button vertically. With this technique, I can also correct small hernias and convert and outie into an innie. Closure is important and I often use a purse-string closure as to close the outer larger skin circle to the inner smaller belly-button contour (analogous to an areolar reduction in breast lift aka Benelli’s mastopexy).
Cost varies but it starts at 3950$ for a procedure done under local anesthesia. Tummy tucks are usually done under general anesthesia and prices can vary on average between 7500$ and 12000$, depending on the types of tummy-tuck and the amount of liposuction and muscle repair required.
Recovery also varies depending on the procedure. Pain is minimal with a simple umbilicoplasty but one should refrain from physical activity and in-water swimming for a minimum of 3 weeks.
Umbilicoplasty – aka belly button reshaping – is a very gratifying procedure, which I perform regularly in our fully accredited surgical centre in Yorkville.
Dr. Marc DuPéré, aesthetic plastic surgeon