What Makes a Belly Button Look Natural After a Tummy Tuck?

As a plastic surgeon, when evaluating a belly button, I look for four things: belly button position, size, shape, and transition to its surrounding. My ultimate goal is to create a belly button that is indistinguishable from a natural belly button when observed from six feet.

Belly Button Position

Obviously, the belly button must be along the body’s midline. There are rare instances that this cannot be achieved because of existing conditions such as scoliosis, which is a curvature in the spine. But as I said, these are rare.

Also, the vertical position of the belly button is important. A low or a high belly button looks strange. As it turns out, the perfect position for the belly button is determined by a mathematical concept called the golden ratio that I use to pinpoint the most aesthetic location for the belly button between the rib cage and the pubis.

Belly Button Size

I do a lot of revision tummy tucks, and not infrequently, I encounter belly buttons that are too large or as narrow as pinpoint. The rule of thumb is not to make the belly button bigger than the patient’s thumbnail.Properly Sized Vertically Oriented Oval Belly Button

Belly Button Shape

Of all the belly button shapes tried by plastic surgeons, such as round, oval horizontal, oval vertical, inverted triangle, etc., the oval vertical belly button consistently ranks more natural-looking than the others.

Belly Button Transition

A natural belly button should seamlessly blend into the abdominal skin. The belly button should start deep, and as it approaches the abdominal skin, it should pull it inward to hide the scar. I prefer an “innie” belly button over an “outie .”There are a few techniques to achieve this, but that’s a topic on its own.Circular Belly Button with Poor Transition

Final Thoughts

Creating a natural-looking belly button is one of the most challenging aspects of tummy tuck surgery.  A properly sized and positioned vertically oriented oval belly button is the most natural and pleasing looking one.  So when searching for a plastic surgeon, pay special attention to those belly buttons.  Revision is hard!

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