What is Umbilicoplasty?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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Umbilicoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure to revise the shape, size, and/or location of the belly button. Patients may need this surgery after abdominal trauma or could request it because they are not pleased with the aesthetics of the navel. A plastic surgeon performs this surgery in an operating room setting. Depending on the nature of the procedure, the patient may need general anesthesia, or sedation with local anesthesia.

When people have tummy tucks, lifts, and other surgical procedures to revise the abdomen's appearance, the doctor may need to include an umbilicoplasty. Moving abdominal tissues around can force the navel into an awkward location, and the doctor will reposition it to make sure the patient's abdomen looks more natural. Doctors performing repairs of umbilical hernias can also revise the structure's appearance while working on the patient.

In other patients, the belly button may have an appearance they do not like because of size, protrusion, or other issues. The doctor can perform an umbilicoplasty to give it the desired appearance. Surgeons usually have a number of reference images so patients can choose a model for how they want their navels to look. For a basic procedure, it may be possible to simply sedate the patient. More invasive surgical procedures require general anesthesia for safety and comfort.


Recovery time from an umbilicoplasty depends on the procedure. For invasive tummy tucks and similar procedures, patients may need several weeks or months to recover and have to be careful about bending and lifting, especially at first. For more superficial surgeries, the patient can often resume normal activity levels very quickly. Plastic surgeons work to keep scarring minimal and can also prescribe treatments like pressure bandages to prevent scar formation when large incisions cannot be avoided.

When considering plastic surgery, meeting with several surgeons can help patients get an idea of the options available, as well as the various techniques surgeons use. Patients should always ask to see visual records of a surgeon's work, and should request information on experience, complication rates, and potential surgical outcomes. It is also advisable to look up a surgeon's medical license number to make sure she is in good standing, and to check on any additional qualifications like claims to membership in a professional organization.

Coverage for an umbilicoplasty from insurance companies can vary. Some will pay for the procedure when it is necessary after trauma or major weight loss. Others may decline to cover it at all. When it is purely cosmetic, insurance companies usually refuse to cover it, requiring patients to pay out of pocket for the surgery, as well as all the preparation, such as bloodwork to make sure the patient can safely undergo abdominal surgery. People concerned about cost can discuss payment options with billing or office staff.


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