Umbilicoplasty is a procedure that changes the appearance of your bellybutton. It was originally used to treat umbilical hernias in infants. In recent years, it’s become a popular cosmetic surgery.

The goal of umbilicoplasty is to give the bellybutton a more vertical shape instead of a horizontal one. It’s usually considered by women after pregnancy or people who have scarring from an old bellybutton piercing.

Keep reading to learn more about the effectiveness of umbilicoplasty, as well as the risks and recovery time involved.

It’s common for the shape of your bellybutton to change during pregnancy. While you’re pregnant, your bellybutton might appear stretched. Following the pregnancy, you might notice your bellybutton looking shorter and wider than it did before. In some cases, the tissue in your bellybutton can fuse together as your body heals after pregnancy, leaving you with a protruding bellybutton.

Umbilicoplasty can help make your bellybutton look more like it did before you were pregnant. However, the procedure won’t change the appearance of any other part of your stomach. If you’re looking to surgically remove extra skin or fat deposits caused by pregnancy, you’ll need additional procedures, such as a tummy tuck or liposuction. If you do opt for a tummy tuck, your surgeon may recommend doing an umbilicoplasty procedure at the same time.

You should only consider stomach or abdominal surgery if you’re sure you won’t get pregnant again, as this can undo the results of any cosmetic procedures in that area.

Sometimes an old bellybutton piercing, or a piercing that your body rejected, can leave a scar that affects your bellybutton’s appearance. Depending on where the scar is, umbilicoplasty may help.

If the scar is located on the small ring of skin surrounding your bellybutton, or in the indentation of your bellybutton, umbilicoplasty may be an effective option. However, if the scar is anywhere else, including slightly above your bellybutton, a scar revision procedure might be a better option. This involves using topical treatments or surgery to reduce the appearance of a scar. These procedures are often less expensive and invasive than umbilicoplasty.

If you’re looking to get rid of an old piercing scar, its best to discuss your options with a surgeon who has experience treating piercing scars. They can take a look at the scar and review the most effective options based on its location and appearance.

Preparation

Before undergoing any type of cosmetic procedure, make sure you find a reputable surgeon who has experience doing the procedure you want. If possible, schedule a consultation with two or three surgeons. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery has a helpful checklist you can print out and bring to the consultation to help guide your questions and keep track of different surgeons’ answers.

Physically, you don’t need to do much to prepare for an umbilicoplasty procedure. However, if you smoke, you’ll likely need to quit at least a month before the procedure to reduce your risk of complications. Your surgeon may also advise you to stop taking certain medications or supplements in the weeks or days leading up to the surgery. If you’re going to be under general anesthesia, you’ll also need to avoid eating anything in the hours leading up to the surgery.

Before scheduling the procedure, make sure your surgeon goes over exactly what you’ll need to do to prepare.

Surgery

Umbilicoplasty procedures can be done in an office or hospital setting. Depending on the extent of the procedure and your preference, your surgeon will give you either local or general anesthesia.

Next, your surgeon will remove any extra skin around your bellybutton. Depending on the results you want, they may trim its angles to appear either higher or lower than it did before the procedure. Once everything’s in place, they’ll use stitches to hold everything together while your bellybutton heals.

The entire procedure should take less than an hour.

After surgery

You’ll likely be able to go home the same day as your procedure, though you might still have some pain and discomfort. Before scheduling your surgery, ask your surgeon whether you’ll need someone to drive you home or stay with you.

The recovery period for umbilicoplasty procurers is fairly short. In many cases, you’ll be able to return to work in a day or too, though you may need to wait a few weeks before resuming any exercise routines. Make sure to take any prescribed medication as directed while you heal.

As you recover, keep your bellybutton area clean and dry. Unless you have dissolvable stitches, you’ll need to have your stitches removed about 7 to 10 days after surgery.

All surgeries, even small cosmetic procedures, carry some risks. While anesthesia is generally safe, it can increase your risk of developing blood clots or pneumonia, especially if you have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Following the procedure, you can also develop an infection or bleeding in your bellybutton. In addition, umbilicoplasty procedures can leave their own scars, so it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits, especially if you’re considering it for a piercing scar.

Make sure to contact your doctor right away if you notice any of the following symptoms in the weeks after your surgery:

  • severe bleeding
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • pain that doesn’t go away
  • signs of infection, such as a fever, unusual smell, or colored discharge

Umbilicoplasty is a procedure that can change the shape of your bellybutton. If you’re considering it, keep in mind that it does carry the risk of scarring. For some people, the procedure might not be worth the risk. In addition, if you think you might become pregnant in the future, it’s best to hold off on the surgery to avoid undoing the results.