Belly buttons are actually the remnants of our first scar because they form after the umbilical cord is cut upon our birth. When we undergo an abdominoplasty, our belly buttons can appear as though they have been damaged or scarred. However, this is all part of the healing process and is no cause for concern.

Abdominoplasty

What happens during an abdominoplasty?

During this surgical procedure, excess skin and fat is removed. In some cases liposuction is used to remove stubborn fat deposits, and the underlying abdominal muscles are tightened. An incision is made that usually runs from hip bone to hip bone, directly above the pubic area. The incision site heals leaving a scar that is easily concealed by bathings suits and undergarments. Depending on where your belly button sits on your abdomen, it may be shifted to accommodate the new, tighter contours of your abdomen.

What is the recovery period like and how does it affect the belly button?

Following an abdominoplasty, you will need to rest. Most people take a week or two off work to ensure that they’re not tempted to move around too much. You are allowed to do some light walking but avoid heavy lifting and strenuous workouts for at least six weeks. A compression garment must be worn during the first few weeks of healing to ensure that your abdomen responds to its new contours.

Your belly button will swell in the first few days after your procedure. Scarring is normal and the scar itself will be hard at first but soften over time. It can take anywhere from three weeks to six months for your belly button to fully heal. Some crusting around the scar site is normal, and this will also clear up after about three weeks.

What to look out for

Most belly buttons recover nicely following an abdominoplasty. However, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, it could be cause for concern. Look out for:

  • A belly button opening that appears to constrict or contract

  • A scar around the belly button that gets thicker instead of fading over time

  • A belly button that looks distorted, elongated, or oddly-shaped

  • A formation of pus or blood or other substances around the belly button

If you notice that after six months your belly button has not healed and remains red and crusty, contact your surgeon immediately. It could be the work of an infection that requires antibiotics. You want to get the issue resolved promptly, so you can get your belly button back to normal and enjoy the results of your abdominoplasty.