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Thomas P. Sterry, MD

Belly Button Plastic Surgery

Every once in a while a patient will come in to my office asking for cosmetic surgery of the belly button (the media tries to make this out to be a fad, but I don’t really see it that way). Plastic surgeons who perform a lot of tummy tuck surgery are all fairly well trained to handle these kinds of problems, and I thought patients should know that we may be able to help you out. I’m going to present a few belly button photos below to help the reader understand what can be done, and why.

Sometimes these umbilical issues are truly reconstructive cases, occasionally the patient has an umbilical hernia and fixing that is essential to the cosmetic outcome. At other times the case is purely aesthetic in nature. For those patients I can typically perform the procedure under local anesthetic in my office.

This patient came in to see me because her belly button had been completely obliterated by emergency surgery about 18 months prior to meeting her. She also had some reconstructive work done, but was still left without an umbilicus. I did my best to create a brand new belly button where none was present before. Again, this woman was very happy with the result.

scar revision and new belly button creation

This patient had both a scar revision and the creation of a new belly button performed at the same time.

This patient is a male who had a large umbilical hernia for quite some time and finally decided to have it repaired. I assisted the general surgeon, and frankly prevented him from creating a very large incision above the belly button (as we were all trained to perform the operation that way). The other surgeon resisted, but agreed with my plan to create our repair by limited out incision to the umbilical rim. I then trimmed some of the excess and closed as best I could in an attempt to reconstruct the patients belly button. Again, the outcome is quite acceptable from a cosmetic standpoint.

Cosmetic belly button surgery and hernia repair

Cosmetic belly button and hernia repair

This is a woman who came in to see me stating that she “hated” her belly button ever since she had children because it had become so “flat” and “wide”. Frankly, I thought she was being a little excessive when I spoke to her, but after hearing what she wanted, I knew I could deliver a good result. Under local anesthetic in my office OR I basically moved her tissues around and tried to create a more narrow and deeper umbilicus. She was very happy with her outcome – so much so that I again thought she was a little over the top with her exclamations.

Umbilicoplasty pictures

Umbilicoplasty is the name we give the procedure to improve the appearance of the belly button (umbilicus).

So, while many of my surgical colleagues tease me about my “obsession” with the umbilicus, I think it’s worth the trouble. After all, in many of my operations, the only scar that is visible to the outside world is that belly button incision. I have to make it look good!

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Dr. Thomas P. Sterry

Thomas Sterry, MD, is a board-certified New York City plastic surgeon with over a decade of experience. At his inviting, boutique-style practice in Manhattan, he focuses on each patient's unique needs and aesthetic goals so that he can provide the most attractive and natural-looking outcomes possible.

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