Back in 2017, plastic surgeons saw an uptick in requests for belly button surgery as images of celebrities’ “perfect” belly buttons were trending on social media (Kim K. said she’s had her belly button lasered to tighten the skin post-baby). Now, with crop tops on just about every character in Euphoria, that trend may be circling back. And today, influencer Ali Manno (you may know from her time on The Bachelor franchise) is putting the spotlight on belly buttons once again.
In a post on Instagram, Manno says, “I’m embarrassed to even admit this but I’ve often thought about getting belly button surgery. As I write this out, I can see how ridiculous that my sound to some people but the way my belly button looks is something that has made me insecure my entire life. Maybe it’s because I never saw anybody else in ads or in magazines with a similar one. Mine was different.”
I can relate, as I’ve never really been a fan of my belly button either, and now three months postpartum, it’s even more stretched than it was before. So what are your options if you want to correct it? Here’s what the pros can offer.
Post-Pregnancy Skin Tightening
To tighten a stretched-out post-pregnancy belly button, fractional laser resurfacing of the skin can stimulate collagen production in the area, but it’s not common practice because it’s not likely to offer much improvement (more surface-level skin rejuvenation than tightening). Orlando, FL plastic surgeon Armando Soto, MD says it is difficult to tighten the belly button with a minor procedure. “This is simply not going to be possible through a minor procedure because in truth, the pregnancy stretched the entire abdomen. A minor procedure designed to tighten only a very small amount of skin around the belly button would be like trying to straighten a blanket on a bed by only rearranging a few inches of fabric—it won’t work. You would need to redistribute the entire blanket over the surface area of the bed in order for it to look smooth, which is usually done with a tummy tuck.”
If the complaint is an outie belly button, which is very common, Troy, MI plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD, says it’s a relatively straightforward procedure to make an outie an innie. “Basically, there is a hole at the base of the belly button, allowing fat from the inside to pooch out. The surgery—referred to as an umbilicoplasty by plastic surgeons—involves closing this hole. It’s also called an umbilical hernia repair by general surgeons and is often paid for by health insurance. The reason health insurance often pays for it is because if a loop of intestine gets stuck in that hole, the person could get very sick. The surgery takes about 30 to 40 minutes to perform, and the patient is usually under sedation.”
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