Among the questions patients commonly ask about tummy tuck is a concern that is unique in plastic surgery: Will I be able to keep my belly button? The good news is that tummy tuck will not transform you into Ken or Barbie — you will definitely retain your original, birthday-suit belly button.
Below, experienced San Diego plastic surgeon Dr. Carlos Chacon explains what happens during tummy tuck, and how the procedure affects the overall appearance of your abdomen.
The main objective of tummy tuck is to improve the integrity and profile of the abdominal region. This is accomplished by removing excess skin and tightening the underlying muscles. Tummy tuck is the best choice for patients who have loss of skin elasticity with an overhanging skin fold, typically caused by pregnancy or dramatic weight loss.
Tummy tuck requires a horizontal incision below the belly and an incision near the belly button. This results in a “U-shaped” or circular scar, depending on patient preference. Dr. Chacon will work with you on your preferences for placement of the incision, and help you explore all of your options, which include placing the incision just below the bikini line.
If scarring is a concern, options to consider include: liposuction, which uses small incisions, endoscopic abdominoplasty, which leaves a 1-2 inch scar, or a mini-abdominoplasty, which produces a scar about the length of a C-section. Depending on your genetic predisposition, most scars will fade within 6-12 months, and can be treated with lasers to improve their appearance.
With a traditional tummy tuck, the belly button is separated from the surrounding skin through an incision within the inner border of the belly button, then sewn back after muscles and skin are tightened. The surgeon creates a new hole in the skin for the belly button, and the scar is hidden within the belly button itself. It’s still the same belly button, natural in appearance and position.
In addition to keeping your belly button, equally good news is that you may also improve stretch marks. If your stretch marks are located in the lower abdomen, tummy tuck will eliminate them when the skin is surgically removed. Stretch marks on the middle and upper abdomen may be improved but not eliminated, since this skin is pulled down and tightened during the procedure.
To learn more about tummy tuck, schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Carlos Chacon at his San Diego-area office in Bonita by contacting Divino Plastic Surgery today.