Ask Dr. Pane: How will a Mommy Makeover affect my belly button?


The Question

The little things are sometimes the most important. At Atlantic Coast Aesthetics, we know this as well as anybody! There are all sorts of reasons people seek out cosmetic surgery, and their concerns are as unique and individual as the people themselves. One great example of this is the focus of this week’s Ask Dr. Pane segment. The question comes from our Facebook audience. The viewer asks, “I’m interested in having a Mommy Makeover, but I’m concerned about how it will affect my belly button and its appearance. I don’t know if I want to have a tummy tuck. What are my options?”


The Case

The patient is of indeterminate age, but sent along pictures of her navel area for evaluation. Dr. Pane noted that the skin is wrinkled and stretched out, but there is no immediate evidence of hernia or other problems which might otherwise be expected to interfere with corrective work in the belly button area.

The Answer

Dr. Pane says belly buttons are a very interesting topic. While they appear very simple and basic, this is deceptive, because there’s really quite a lot going on in that area. In this case, Dr. Pane feels the patient would derive the most immediate and long-lasting benefits from a tummy tuck. To explain why this is, we first have to discuss how a tummy tuck is done.

A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty when being technical, is performed by excising any excess skin from around the abdomen and then pulling the remaining upper skin down to meet the lower skin, which is then reattached and permitted to heal. This means the belly button, or navel, still remains intact in most cases. It simply moves a bit lower and is revised somewhat, as a result of the tightening action of the tummy tuck.

Some surgeons won’t do belly buttons for various reasons, including if the patient has suffered a hernia or if the skin in the area is unusually thin. This is due to concerns that, especially with “outies” or outward-protruding belly buttons, the belly button could die off. Dr. Pane says while this is possible, he has never once seen it occur in his practice. For this reason, he is more willing to take on cases which other surgeons may decline.

In a worst-case scenario, where the belly button does die off or is otherwise damaged due to skin problems, hernia or other medical conditions, it is possible to construct a belly button from the ground up, so to speak. This is usually done in cases where an underlying medical condition makes retaining the existing navel impossible. However, a belly button procedure can be done on its own strictly for cosmetic purposes without a tummy tuck. Dr. Pane says he’s willing to do it that way if that’s what the patient wants, but in this case he feels confident in saying the patient would achieve far better and more durable results with a full tummy tuck and navel revision as necessary.

Patients should always remember there are usually multiple paths to get to a great result for them. Sometimes a targeted revision may be all that’s required, while in other cases there may be other cosmetic or medical issues which might complicate or even negate one procedure in favor of another. Because of this, patients should keep an open mind and focus more on the intended results than the process to get there and work with their chosen surgeon to develop a treatment plan which maximizes results while minimizing the associated risks. An experienced, reputable surgeon will generally offer a range of options for the patient, and be able to clearly explain the differences, benefits and risks of each in a way the patient understands and feels comfortable with. Working from this point, the patient and surgeon together can craft a treatment plan with which both parties feel confident.


RealSelf Patient Reviews of Thomas A. Pane, MD

If you have a question about any aspect of cosmetic surgery or associated treatments, the staff of ACA are always happy to talk over your needs, desires, interests and concerns. All you have to do is follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and/or Twitter; email us through our website’s Contact page; or call us at (561) 422-4116. Your question might even help us educate and inform others who share your interests as the focus of an upcoming Ask Dr. Pane segment, where he answers your questions live in a Google hangout! Remember, at ACA, we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!


*Individual results may vary

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