One of the most effective ways to turn a protruding or an "outie" belly button into an innie is through a surgery called "umbilicoplasty." This surgical procedure is done to change the appearance of the navel and, in most cases, to modify the protruding belly button to a more aesthetically pleasant "innie." Umbilicoplasty is sometimes done as part of other surgical procedures, such as a tummy tuck or a lower body lift, as stated by A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Resource.
Contrary to popular belief, the length of umbilical cord that is cut from a newborn does not affect whether or not an individual will have a belly button that sticks out. As the baby develops inside the womb, skin also develops and grows around the umbilical cord. Babies who eventually have outtie belly buttons are the ones that grow more skin around the umbilical cord while inside the womb.
While most umbilicoplasty procedures are undertaken to transform a protruding belly button into an innie, the procedure can also make several nuances to the shape of the innie. Some patients may specifically want a vertical shaped innie, while others may opt for a T-shaped innie with a bit of skin hanging on the upper part of the belly button, as stated by ABCPS.
The umbilicoplasty procedure is done using local anesthesia and usually lasts between 30 minutes to 3 hours. If the procedure is to be done along with a tummy tuck, the patient will have to go under general anesthesia.
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.