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Belly Button Cosmetic Surgery

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Yup, you read that right. You can get cosmetic surgery on your navel. Your family and friends might think you’re crazy for being bothered by such a small and usually covered area of the body, but if you hate your belly button a procedure called “umbilicoplasty” is an option.

According to a recent article on the MSNBC website, some people seek belly button surgery to repair an umbilical hernia or fix a protruding navel after pregnancy. But others choose umbilicoplasty to give their belly button a new look, whether they want to change its size, shape or protruding skin (Nierenberg 1).

A New York Times Magazine writer spotted an increase in attention paid to navels almost ten years ago. In exploring the trend, writer Clive Thompson cited a study on the ideal female belly button performed by a University of Missouri researcher. The findings were that the ideal belly button is definitely an innie, small and vertically oriented. A “T” shape was also found to be acceptable, meaning a navel with a vertical appearance capped by a small hood of skin (Thompson 1).

The MSNBC article quoted a Boston plastic surgeon as saying that umbilicoplasties are often performed as part of a tummy tuck (Nierenberg 1). If you don’t like the look of your belly button, there’s the rub. It seems that while many people focus on the fact that their navel area looks droopy, the real problem is the entire abdomen.

It’s understandable that many people would like to avoid a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. It is one of the more invasive plastic surgery procedures, meaning it can be expensive and painful, and it does require some down time. But be advised that umbilicoplasty will not yield a successful result if what’s needed is a tummy tuck. Visit www.realself.com and search on “umbilicoplasty” to read how a few plastic surgeons explain this (Placik et al 1).

If it is just your belly button that's problematic, there’s good news and bad news. According to the MSNBC article, an umbilicoplasty takes only bout 45 minutes in an outpatient procedure, and results in a little soreness afterward (Nirenberg 1). On the other hand, the price tag won’t necessarily reflect the minor nature of the surgery. When Thompson wrote his New York Times Magazine article, way back in 2002, he quoted a San Francisco surgeon as charging about $3,500.

Maybe that one-piece bathing suit is looking a little better?


Nierenberg, Cari. “What makes an innie an innie? And more belly button mysteries” The Body Odd; MSNBC. May 16, 2011. Web. May 22, 2011.

Thompson, Clive. “The Year in Ideas; Umbilicoplasty. The New York Times Magazine, December 15, 2002. Web. May 22, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/15/magazine/the-year-in-ideas-umbilicoplasty.html

Placik, Joseph M.D. et al. “Am I a Good Candidate for Umbilicoplasty?” Real Self. May 22, 2011. http://www.realself.com/question/a-good-candidate-umbilicoplasty

Reviewed May 24, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton

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