Help for an Ugly Belly Button?

Mar 20, 2014

What makes for an ugly belly button?

Oddly enough, there is more than one research paper outlining the ideal belly button. (I think this is what happens when male surgery residents try to combine their academic research with a spring break trip!) Ideally the belly button, aka umbilicus should be slightly taller than it is wide, with just a small amount of skin hooding over the top. See the photo below for a good example. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but clearly variations from this ideal would qualify a belly button as less attractive or even ugly.

Ugly Belly Button

Why do some people have an ugly belly button?

Weight gain and loss, pregnancy, and previous surgery can all affect the appearance of the umbilicus. The biggest complaint I hear from patients is “My belly button looks sad.”  This usual happens after pregnancy or weight loss create extra skin just above the belly button. But several other possible causes:

Causes and solutions for an ugly belly button.

  1. Rectus diastasis, or stretching of the abdominal muscles can make the belly button look wide and shallow.  Pregnancy and weight gain are common culprits of a rectus diastasis. Repair of the abdominal muscles is a core component of tummy tuck surgery, aka abdominoplasty.  Check out my previous post on abdominoplasty for more information.
  2. Scarring from previous surgery is another frequent cause of an ugly belly button.  If you’ve had any sort of laparoscopic surgery or repair of an umbilical hernia, you will have a scar at the top of your belly button.  Revision of this scar may help the belly button look more attractive.
  3. As I mentioned in the sad belly button example above, excess skin after significant weight loss and after pregnancy are also very common.  The treatment in this case is usually a full abdominoplasty.

What if your belly button is an “outie”?

An umbilical hernia is the cause of an “outie” belly button.  A hernia is when the tough connective tissue that covers your abdomen has a small hole in it. Abdominal fat pokes out (or herniates) through this hole.  This can be painful, and almost always affects the appearance of the belly button. If you think you have a hernia, I recommend seeing a general surgeon to repair the hernia.  Fortunately repair is often covered by insurance.

Are you interested in fixing your ugly belly button? Check out my practice website at to schedule an appointment.