To change an outie belly button into an innie, one may undergo an umbilicoplasty, the medical term for plastic surgery of the belly button, explains Matthew Schulman, M.D. The procedure takes an hour or less to complete in most cases, according to The Consulting Room.
Surgeons utilize different techniques when performing an umbilicoplasty, explains The Consulting Room. One method for transforming an outie belly button into an innie involves cutting away the mass of tissue that protrudes from the belly button, then constructing a new belly button with two skin flaps, explains the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The first skin flap lines the tubular belly button, while the other flap forms the outer hood.
In many cases, an umbilicoplasty can be performed with local anesthesia to numb the surgery site while the patient remains awake, notes The Consulting Room. Although the procedure is usually complete within an hour, the surgeon may need more time if the patient requires removal of a hernia. A hernia is sometimes the cause of the outie belly button in the first place, explains Seattle Children's Hospital.
Aside from turning an outie belly button into an innie belly button, some other reasons patients undergo umbilicoplasty procedures are to make the belly button smaller and to remove excess skin from the belly button, notes Dr. Schulman. The procedure is also useful for removing scar tissue from belly button piercings.