Belly Button Beauty
While the belly button is a seemingly simple little feature on the body, you might be surprised to learn it’s one of the most important aspects of a well-done tummy tuck, according to plastic surgeon and tummy tuck specialist Dr. Chris Patronella. So important, in fact, that Dr. Patronella performs an eight-step method to meticulously recreate the nuances of an attractive navel in the tummy tuck procedures he performs.
“The belly button can be one of the most obvious signs of a tummy tuck if it is not done artistically with precision and attention to the details that make it look natural,” said Dr. Patronella. And this is a problem because, “many women want to be able to wear a two-piece swimsuit,” free of the fear that an artificial-looking belly button is advertising the fact they had tummy tuck surgery, commented Dr. Patronella. The issue is one of the top reasons women consult with him for revision surgery to correct the results of a tummy tuck procedure they received elsewhere.
The Effects of Pregnancy
Though it’s essentially a scar marking the place where the umbilical cord was once attached, a youthful-looking navel, which in plastic surgery lingo is termed an “umbilicus,” contributes to the overall elegant beauty of an attractive abdomen. That’s why restoration of its once youthful appearance is one of the 10 key elements of Dr. Patronella’s True Form Tummy Tuck® method. But achieving this goal is a more complex process than you might expect.
Before we delve into some of the details of Dr. Patronella’s method, let’s take a look at what happens to the belly button during pregnancy, which, along with weight gain and weight loss, is one of the primary reasons it loses its youthful shape and firmness. In the months prior to delivery, the mother’s belly button, along with the abdominal skin and underlying muscle wall undergo extreme stretching to accommodate the growing baby.
After childbirth, many women, eager to get back their pre-pregnancy figures, are disappointed to find their once tight navels and abdomens retain a stretched-out appearance despite their efforts for improvement through exercise and diet. The belly button, which is typically oval or round prior to pregnancy, often takes on a more horizontal shape with a fold of skin over it.
How to Create a Beautiful Belly Button
And this is why tummy tuck surgery is such a transformative procedure for Dr. Patronella’s patients, for it restores a toned and sexy sculpted appearance to the abdomen, typically boosting their confidence, sense of attractiveness, and satisfaction with intimacy in the process. As part of the procedure, the belly button is detached from the skin around it to allow for repair of the underlying muscle wall and the removal of loose, excess abdominal skin. This requires a new opening to be formed in the abdominal skin for the belly button, one that is higher up since the original position would be too low once the skin is pulled down and sutured into place.
To create a natural-looking outcome here requires a convergence of artistry and science—the skill combination that makes plastic surgery both intriguing and complex. In addition to other techniques, Dr. Patronella incorporates umbilical hernia repair (if needed), shortening of the umbilical stalk (the part of the belly button that is attached to the muscle wall), specialized suturing techniques, and fat removal to replicate a vertical absence of fatty tissue around the belly button, which, turns out, is one of the anatomical characteristics of an attractive navel if you were to examine its appearance beneath the skin.
While these maneuvers may not sound particularly inspired, in combination they produce the characteristics of an attractive, elegant feminine navel, restoring firmness and a deep inward contour to the belly button. Dr. Patronella said, “I aim for a shape that’s slightly more vertically oval rather than round, as this is more typically representative of the beautiful, toned abdomen.
Why Choose Dr. Patronella?
His impressive results and detailed methodology earned Dr. Patronella an invitation to present his expertise on the subject at the Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons 2014 meeting. The talk—Umbilicorraphy: Key Elements in Creating a Natural Umbilicus During Abdominoplasty–was well-received and generated numerous questions from his colleagues, reflecting the continuing quest to master the technicalities of this aesthetic niche.
Most importantly, Dr. Patronella’s tummy tuck patients give their results high scores, with 87% of 86 respondents rating the appearance of their belly button following surgery as excellent or good in a 2014 survey sent to 150 consecutive tummy tuck patients of the surgeon.
And, ultimately it is their satisfaction, and delivering the most natural-looking aesthetic ideal possible that drives Dr. Patronella and other innovators in his specialty to continually refine the techniques of their trade, For it is in the details that excellence resides, the distinguishing difference between standard versus breathtaking results.
By Sherri Roberts