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. It’s the same one you always had, it may just look a little different. 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 therefore cannot be moved.
During DIEP flap breast reconstruction, two incisions are made over the lower abdomen: a football-shaped incision (like a tummy tuck) around the tissue that will be used to reconstruct the breasts, and another around the belly button. The tissue is removed and transplanted to the chest to reconstruct the breast(s) and the belly button is left in its original location.
The abdominal surgical site is closed by pulling the upper abdominal tissue down to the lower abdominal incision, over the belly button. Since the upper abdominal tissue is now covering the belly button, a new hole must be created to expose the belly button.
Once the abdominal incision is closed, the surgeon identifies the location of the belly button under the skin and cuts the 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: