How a “New” Belly Button is Created during DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

By: Courtney Floyd


Quite often, patients inquire about how their new belly button will be created during DIEP flap breast reconstruction. This is an excellent question and one that is typically not discussed prior to a consultation with the surgeon.

It’s actually not a “new” belly button. Your belly button was formed from scar tissue left over from the umbilical chord after you were born. The belly button you have today is still permanently connected internally to your liver and cannot be moved.

During DIEP flap breast reconstruction, a football shaped incision is made in the lower abdominal area taking care to cut around the belly button. The tissue is removed and transplanted to the chest wall for reconstruction. The abdominal incision is closed by pulling the upper abdominal tissue down to the lower abdominal incision. Since the belly button cannot be moved down with the skin and fatty tissue (remember it is connected internally), a new hole must be created for the belly button.

Once the abdominal incision is closed, the surgeon identifies the location of the belly button under the skin and cuts a new hole for the belly button to pop through.

All sounding a little confusing? No worries! Dr. Garza demonstrates the procedure in this short video:

Here's a quick glance of each step:

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