So you are thinking about a tummy tuck, and the surgeon says they want to remove the belly button. It may sound strange, but there are times when tummy tuck belly button removal is the right thing to do. However, that doesn’t mean you will get a flat tummy that looks strange. The belly button can be moved or recreated from scratch to give you a result that looks natural. Let’s talk about the different scenarios.
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A case for keeping the belly button
The standard procedure is to keep the patient’s existing belly button. However, there are cases when your surgeon should create a new navel from scratch or remove it entirely. Whether you are having a tummy tuck, belt lipectomy or body lift, this is something your surgeon should discuss with you during the consultation so you can give your input and know what to expect. And certainly, during a mini tummy tuck, your surgeon should keep the natural belly button. In most situations, the original belly button is simply moved to a higher position so it looks very natural.
How is the belly button moved?
The belly button may be moved or re-created from scratch during abdominoplasty.
Moving the umbilicus during a tummy tuck
If your surgeon wants to keep the existent belly button, it often needs to be moved. The reason for moving the belly button is that when loose abdominal skin is cut away to create a smooth, flat tummy, the skin is pulled taut to close the incision. As the skin is pulled down, the belly button is pulled down as well. This makes the belly button sit too low on the tummy, which looks unnatural. Therefore, a good surgeon will relocate the navel so that it sits in a natural position on the tummy.
Moving the navel is no easy task. It requires the hands of a highly skilled surgeon. Doctor Bernard Beldholm, FRACS is a specialist tummy tuck surgeon that deals with post-weight loss patients and women that have loose belly skin after pregnancy. He has performed thousands of tummy tuck surgeries, often moving the belly button during the operation for a beautiful result. This is the most common way to do a belly button during a tummy tuck.
The belly button sits deep in the abdomen. Dr. Beldholm carefully cuts around the navel, then pulls the abdominal skin downward after trimming the loose skin away. This leaves his patients with a nice, flat tummy. Once the skin is pulled down, he creates a new hole in the abdomen where the navel will go. He gently pulls the original belly button up through the hole and stitches it carefully in place. This is the standard technique. The results look very natural.
Making the new belly button look natural
Since the original belly button is used in this technique, it gives a very good result. Dr. Beldholm can get a great result by making small modifications to the navel area so it looks even more natural. For example, the belly button hole should be the correct shape and size. Some surgeons make the mistake of making a belly button that is too round. It may not be something you consciously think about, but you know it when you see it. Something just doesn’t look right.
Natural belly buttons tend to have a more vertical oval shape. Often, there is also a small hood, or flap of skin, at the very top of the oval. He uses an artistic eye and advanced knowledge of anatomy to make these small adjustments as needed. If you have any preferences as far as how the belly button looks, you are encouraged to discuss it during the consultation.
Everyone should be on the same page. That is how we get good patient outcomes. Knowing what to expect and having a say in the process is the best way to make sure you are happy with the result. That is really important to Dr. Beldholm and his patients.
Creating a new navel from scratch
The standard technique is to take the patient’s own belly button and move it to a desirable position toward the end of the abdominoplasty surgery. However, there are times when it is beneficial to create a new belly button entirely.
In this case, the original belly button will be cut away and removed. Then, a new belly button is created using the patient’s abdominal skin. Dr. Beldholm achieves this by examining the tummy and determining where the belly button should go, drawing on his knowledge of abdominal anatomy and research studies.
After determining where the new belly button should go, he will push the skin down and craft a new belly button using the abdominal skin. This is called a neo-umbilicis. That means a new umbilicus, or navel, is created from the patient’s skin.
Why create a new navel from scratch?
While keeping the old belly button is standard practice, it is better to create a new belly button in some situations.
You don’t like the way your belly button looks
One benefit is that a new navel can be created according to the patient’s preferences. Perhaps they did not like the original belly button. Navels come in all shapes and sizes. Creating one from scratch gives you and the surgeon the opportunity to change the way your belly button looks so it fits your aesthetic preferences better.
It minimizes scarring
Another benefit of creating a new navel is that it minimizes scarring. Moving the original navel leaves small scars around the belly button as it is cut away then sutured in placed. The scars are not too noticeable, but upon close inspection, you will see a scar around the edge of the belly button. This is not something you need to worry about when creating a new belly button. Instead, the skin is pushed down to create a new belly button and the stitches are hidden inside it.
The original belly button is in an odd position
Another reason for creating a new navel is when the original belly button is in an unusual location. Often times, the belly button sits too low. This is very common among post-weight loss patients that have excess skin on the tummy. The skin has stretched so much that the belly button sits very low on the abdomen. Moving it is not as feasible.
Other times, the navel sits too far to the side of the tummy. The belly button should be centered on the midline of the abdomen. In these cases, it’s usually better to cut the original belly button off and recreate a new one that sits centered and higher on the tummy. As you can see, tummy tuck surgeon is highly customized to each patient’s body.
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2 reasons to remove the belly button during a tummy tuck
Here’s when we might remove the belly button during abdominoplasty.
We need to preserve the blood supply
Studies have shown that tummy tuck complications can be reduced by preserving the blood supply during the operation. With so much cutting to remove hanging skin, the blood supply can be severed in a few places. Your skin and tissue needs a good blood supply to heal properly. Blood brings nutrients and oxygen to the wound as it heals.
Dr. Beldholm is a specialist tummy tuck surgeon in Australia that uses a modern abdominoplasty technique. This method aims to preserve the blood supply so patients have safer healing and reduced tummy tuck risks. This makes the operation safer than older tummy tuck techniques of the past.
In terms of the belly button, we need to preserve the blood supply. Creating a hole in the abdominal skin to move the original belly button can be a problem for some patients if they are having ample skin removal. In this case, it’s usually necessary to remove the belly button at the time of the operation. Then, after healing from surgery, you can come in for a smaller operation to create a new belly button. This usually happens 6 to 12 months later. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to create a new belly button.
This approach isn’t common, but sometimes it is necessary for the patient’s safety. We want to preserve the blood supply during the initial operation so you get a great result and heal safely. That is the most important thing.
You’re having a big operation
Another reason the belly button might be cut away entirely during the procedure is when patients are have a long operation. Post-weight loss patients may fall into this category. For example, a body lift or belt lipectomy surgery can take 6 to 8 hours. This can be exhausting for the surgeon. It also means the patient has a lot of healing ahead of them.
To minimize this, your surgeon may need to address the belly button in a second, smaller operation after you have healed from the first. Usually, this happens 6 to 12 months later. Recreating the belly button usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.
When navel re-creation is performed as a separate operation, it can improve your results since that is the only thing that happens during the procedure. Focusing all his attention on that, Doctor Bernard will create a beautiful, natural-looking belly button that suits your preferences. This puts the finishing touch on your new slim, flat tummy.
The standard technique is to use the patient’s own belly button to create a new one. However, there are a few reasons for creating a new navel or cutting away the old one entirely during the initial operation. So if your surgeon suggests removing the belly button, don’t be alarmed. There is always an opportunity to create a new one — and it may even look better than the one you have now.
Dr. Beldholm has helped many patients get a beautiful tummy and belly button after weight-loss surgery or pregnancy. He will be sure to discuss the belly button with you during the consultation. It’s important that you have a say in what happens to your body. Patient satisfaction ratings are much higher when the patient knows exactly what to expect after surgery. Getting a great cosmetic outcome means the surgery is tailored to you.