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Doctor Discusses Turning An Outie Belly Button Into An Innie

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Posted at 4:15 PM, Jul 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-30 19:41:07-04

NEW YORK. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Whether it happened during pregnancy, or they were just born that way, thousands of women and men have outie belly buttons they don’t like. Now, they don’t have to hide their tummies any more. A relatively new procedure has been turning that outie into an innie in minutes, just in time for bathing suit season.

“I think we all have just that little thing that we're quite self-conscious about,” Shenade Charles told Ivanhoe.

For 21-year-old Shenade, it's her outie belly button.

“I could probably count in my life like three times or so I’ve ever worn a bikini,” she said.

Dr. Matthew Schulman, New York Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, has been an expert when it comes to turning an outie belly button into an innie.

“I always tell my patients I do more bellybutton surgeries in a month than most other plastic surgeons do in their entire career,” Dr. Schulman told Ivanhoe.

Schulman perfected his procedure by using the training he received in both general surgery and plastic surgery. First the doctor marks the belly button and numbs the area with a local anesthetic. He then creates an incision to get to the hernia, or hole, that has caused a belly button to poke out.

“And then I can put stitches in that hole to close the hole,” Dr. Schulman explained.

Next, Schulman tacks the belly button down from the inside, and finally he closes up the incision. The entire process has been known to take about 30 minutes.

Shenade’s new belly button has given her the beach body she's always wanted.

“For such a short procedure it can make a big impact on your life,” she said.

In just three days, Shenade was able to take her bandage off and show off her belly button at the beach, and in four weeks it would be completely healed. The procedure cost about $3,500.

BACKGROUND: Despite popular belief, an outie belly button actually has nothing to do with how the umbilical cord was cut or clamped. Most outies are nothing more than extra scar tissue. The rest are caused by an umbilical hernia which occurs when the stomach muscles don't fuse together properly after the cord stump falls off, causing abdominal tissues to poke through. Outies can also be caused by how the scar attaches to the underlying muscles, the looseness of surrounding skin, the fat under the skin, and how flat or protruding your belly is. Although you can’t control whether you get an outie or an innie belly button, all outies can be fixed through surgery if someone is unhappy with the look. The problem is, according to Matthew Schulman, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, “The belly button doesn’t look so good after surgery because the surgeon may not take that extra step to make the belly button look pretty when they do it.” (Source 1, Source 2)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Dr. Schulman says he has perfected his method of belly button surgery thanks to his experience as a plastic and general surgeon, “I was trained in fixing hernias so now I just combined what I learned early in my career in my general surgery training with what I do now which is cosmetic plastic surgery.” Dr. Schulman explained, “I am able to fix the hernia and play around with the belly button to make the belly button look nicer at the same time and I think that’s the best way to do it.” There are many different types of belly buttons and not all are perfectly round, perfectly protruded or sunken in. Dr. Schulman refers to most belly buttons as an “in-betweenie”. These are people who are not quite an innie and are not quite an outie either. He said, “That seems to be where most of the patients come from.” The surgery to fix an outie belly button is relatively simple. It is done under local anesthesia and with a very small incision. Dr. Schulman fixes the hernia, makes the belly button prettier and closes up with a few internal stitches. The whole procedure is completed in about 30 minutes and the patient can go home the same day. The procedure costs about $3,500. (Source: Matthew Schulman, MD) MORE.