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Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons
An umbilicoplasty, also known as belly button surgery, is a surgical procedure which aims to change the appearance of your belly button, making it more aesthetically pleasing.
The goal of umbilicoplasty is to give the belly button a more vertical shape, rather than a horizontal one, or to turn an outward belly button into an ‘innie’. Belly button surgery is particularly popular with women who have seen the size and shape of their belly button change as a result of pregnancy. Umbilicoplasty is also commonly carried out on people who have scarring left behind after a belly button piercing.
Belly button surgery is quick and straightforward and is performed as a day case, meaning that you will be able to go home on the same day as your surgery. The procedure takes around one to four hours from start to finish. It also has a quick recovery time and you should be fully healed by two to four weeks.
Umbilicoplasty is commonly performed alongside liposuction and/or abdominoplasty, if you also wish to have excess fat or skin removed from your abdomen.
Time off work
After 1 day
After 1 day
4 - 6 weeks
After 4 weeks
Sleeping on back
1 - 2 weeks
People seek umbilicoplasty if they are unhappy or dissatisfied with the shape or size of their belly button. Your belly button can change appearance due to pregnancy or following a large weight loss and you may not be happy with how it looks. Belly buttons are often visible when wearing swimwear and underwear, so a person who is unhappy with the appearance of their belly button may find they feel anxious about exposing this particular part of their body. In some cases this means avoiding certain activities and situations, such as swimming, sunbathing and communal changing rooms, all together. This lack of self-confidence and self-esteem can also have an impact on romantic and intimate relationships.
Umbilicoplasty can also fix a prominent ‘outie’ belly button caused by an umbilical hernia, as well as scarring left behind from a belly button piercing.
Cadogan Clinic considers individuals fit for umbilicoplasty, if all of the following are true of them:
You may also be experiencing one or more of the following:
Words from our clients:
"I was extremely satisfied with the care and treatment I received at the Cadogan Clinic. My surgeon was friendly and informative and explained the procedure fully. My procedure went very well and with the excellent care of the nursing staff, I made a speedy and full recovery. Would recommend to anyone."Eva Berry
"At the beginning before the operation the nurse taking care of me made me feel so comfortable. The surgeon and anesthetist helped me feel so calm. Fantastic before and after treatment"Scarlett Elliott
"The girls on the reception at the clinic were very pleasant and professional. The nurse who took out my stitches after my surgery was just lovely and took me through step by step what she was doing and she also recommended a great cream to use to help with healing."Georgina Nolan
“I was treated with care and provided with thorough knowledge about the procedure I was undertaking. My surgeon was very methodical (a perfectionist) and I felt I received A class treatment."Courtney O'Sullivan
"Outstanding experience from the first appointment to being discharged. Very professional, friendly and a fantastic outcome."Gemma Stevenson
"Reception staff very welcoming and efficient. Both nurses who I dealt with were fantastic, and the whole team (anaesthetist, surgeon etc) were friendly but professional, and really put my mind at ease. That I was able to stay later than I perhaps needed after my surgery to fit in with my husbands schedule was greatly appreciated."Emma Davies
An umbilicoplasty can be performed under a local or general anaesthetic and is carried out as a day case, meaning you can go home on the same day as the procedure.
The surgeon will make an incision deep within the belly button itself, meaning that any scars left after surgery will be well hidden within the belly button.
Any extra skin and fat around the belly button is removed or repositioned in order to create the desired shape and depending on the desired result, the edges of the belly button may be trimmed to make it look in a higher or lower position than it was before. Any herniations and bulges are fixed during the procedure. The incisions are then closed with dissolvable sutures. This means you will not need to return to the clinic to have any stitches removed.
Belly button surgery takes between one to four hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the procedure. It will take longer if you are having an additional procedure, such as liposuction or abdominoplasty, alongside your umbilicoplasty.
We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.
Below you will find some key information to help you prepare for surgery and make necessary arrangements to ensure you have the support you need and that everything runs smoothly on the day.
Your journey with the Cadogan Clinic will start with up to two consultations with one of our leading specialist plastic surgeons at our award-winning premises in Chelsea. These consultations will take between 30 and 60 minutes.
During your consultation, your surgeon will ask about your expectations for your belly button surgery and talk about what will happen during the procedure. They will also explain how the procedure will affect you and the recovery period.
It is important that you are open and honest about what you hope to achieve through surgery to help ensure the best possible result. Your surgeon will be happy to answer any questions you may have at this point. It may be a good idea to write your questions down before attending the consultation. Having established what you want from the surgery, and what is possible given your anatomy, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken. Your medical history will be discussed and a physical examination will be carried out.
If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed with your surgery following a two week 'cooling off' period.
02.Leading up to Procedure
If you decide to go ahead with surgery, the next time you will return to the clinic is on the day of your umbilicoplasty. It is important that you prepare by taking the following measures ahead of surgery.
In the six hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid which will be allowed up to two hours before you are admitted to the clinic. Clear fluids include still water, black coffee and black tea.
03.On the day
Your umbilicoplasty will take place at our award-winning clinic in Chelsea. You will be given a general anaesthetic to put you to sleep for the operation. In some cases the surgeon may use a local anaesthetic and sedation if appropriate. Once the anaesthesia has taken effect, the surgeon will begin reshaping your belly button.
Following your belly button surgery, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms. You may feel a little drowsy but this often wears off within a few hours. Once you are able to eat and drink, and our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete, you will be allowed to leave the clinic with a friend or family member.
You should take two days off work to recover and you must make sure that you sleep on your back for one week following your umbilicoplasty. You should refrain from exercise, including going to the gym, for four weeks after surgery to allow your belly button to recover.
It takes between two to four weeks to make a full recovery from belly button surgery.
Our on-call nursing service is open 24/7 during your recovery period to help with any questions or queries that you may have.
It is important that you follow all the aftercare instructions issued by your doctor. Failure to do so may impact on your recovery and the final result.
The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us
We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journeyThe Patient Journey
Can I have an umbilicoplasty after pregnancy?
Pregnancy can have a major impact on the size, shape and appearance of a woman’s body and in some cases these changes remain, even after the postpartum period.
It is very common for the belly button to change shape during pregnancy. You may notice that your belly button becomes stretched during pregnancy, leaving it shorter and wider after birth than it was before. Umbilicoplasty can be carried out after pregnancy to return the belly button to its pre-pregnancy state. Often women who choose belly button surgery after pregnancy also have other treatments, such as lipo or abdominoplasty, to further improve the aesthetic of the abdomen. An umbilicoplasty alone will not change the overall appearance of the stomach.
If you intend to get pregnant again, then we would advise waiting until after your final pregnancy before having belly button surgery. This is because a further pregnancy will undo the results of any cosmetic surgery in that part of the body.
Can an umbilicoplasty hide a piercing scar?
Umbilicoplasty is an effective way of treating a scar left behind by an old belly button piercing.
If the scar is on the small ring of skin around your belly button or within the indentation of the belly button, then umbilicoplasty can effectively treat this scar, leaving it invisible to the naked eye.
However, if the scar is anywhere else, including slightly above the belly button, then an alternative treatment may be a more effective option. Your surgeon will be able to advise the best procedure to help you meet your goal.
What is the difference between an innie and outie belly button?
Broadly speaking, there are two different types of belly button: an ‘innie’ and an ‘outie’.
A protruding belly button is known as an outie and an estimated ten percent of the population has one. An outie occurs when the remains of the umbilical stump goes out instead of inwards. An outie belly button is nothing to be concerned about and does not cause any health issues.
An innie belly button, as the name suggests, is when the umbilical stump has gone inwards, creating a ‘well’ in the stomach. There are a number of different types of innie belly buttons. These include a vertical belly button (usually narrow and the most common type), a horizontal belly button (usually narrow), round (no hooding or covering), deep hollow (usually seen in people with excess abdominal fat) and lightbulb shaped (little hooding, a slightly oval shape that narrows at the bottom).
You are more likely to have an outie belly button if you have an umbilical hernia, a condition where the surrounding muscles don’t grow together properly causing the belly button to pop out, or an umbilical granuloma, which causes crusting on the belly button, making it appear bigger.
Will there be visible scarring following umbilicoplasty?
Umbilicoplasty leaves little scarring behind. Any scarring is expertly concealed within the natural shape of the belly button, so it cannot be seen. We also recommend meeting one of our aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing process if required.
Is belly button surgery permanent?
Umbilicoplasty permanently changes the shape of your belly button. However this can change due to large fluctuations in weight, muscle tone or by pregnancy. If you look after your body and maintain a steady weight through diet and exercise, you can enjoy the results of your belly button surgery for many years to come. We do not recommend umbilicoplasty until you have completed your family.
Founded in 2004 by world renowned plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, we now work with over 100 leading consultants and successfully treat over 20,000 patients each year. We have been winning industry awards since inception.About Us
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All of our treatments take place at our beautiful boutique premises in Chelsea. We have six consulting rooms and five operating rooms, as well as a dedicated pre and post-operative suite, and a full team of specialist nursing staff.Our Clinic
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Complications are rare although, as with all surgery, possible. Your surgeon will discuss each of these risks comprehensively at your consultation. Read our FAQ section for more information.
We believe in the delivery of excellent outcomes and results, and exceptional levels of service. Our outcomes are natural and long-lasting, and we remain the premier choice for cosmetic surgery treatments in the UK.
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