According to physicians, umbilicoplasty—navel surgery—is becoming more popular among women who want to feel desired. Women say that “innies” are in and “outies” are out.

Physicians say that unlike scars that result from stitches or scrapes, the belly button scar can be reversed.

Michael Bermant, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon who operates a clinic near Richmond, Va, has been reconstructing navels for more than 30 years. How one gets an “innie” or an “outie,” he says, depends on how the scar heals.

“There is no such thing as a family-style belly button,” says Bermant. “It’s not something you inherit. Innie scars curve into the deepest component of that area and outie scars heal with an extra bubble of tissue.”

Although some umbilicoplasties are performed for medical reasons, like a hernia or a defect in the abdominal wall, most are done simply for aesthetic reasons.

Bermant says that women often approach him after losing a large amount of weight, which can exacerbate the amount of loose skin hanging over the navel, and after pregnancies, which often cause an outie to appear, even in women who previously had innies. Women also request to have  the procedure done before the swimsuit season begins.

Like any surgery, umbilicoplasty is not to be taken lightly. Bermant suggests that plastic surgeons educate their  patients on the anatomy of the abdomen and the risks of the procedure, which include possible injury to tissue, bleeding, and infection.

[www.stltoday.com, March 6, 2007]