Rachel is a 30 year old mother from Broome, WA and recently underwent an umbilicoplasty to change her “outie” belly button to an “innie”. This procedure is on the rise and Rachel’s surgeon, Dr Mark Hanikeri, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in WA, performs quite a few of them. Rachel tells us about her belly button surgery journey.
I’m a 30 year old mother of two amazing boys aged 2 and 4. I live in sunny Broome W.A. As a young women I was always very aware of my “outie” and didn’t feel very comfortable wearing bikinis and midriff tops and I found after going to the doctors and asking about the steps to take to get it fixed the response was always “it’s a cosmetic thing”, or, “it’s not causing you any pain so it’s classed as a plastic surgery procedure”, “it would cost a lot of money” and “be proud of my body and embrace it”. I found they didn’t really support me in finding information. So I left it for a couple of years, had two beautiful baby boys and then wondered why I was still not confident in wearing a bikini.
I didn’t mind my body or my stretchmarks but really didn’t like my “outie” so started looking on the internet for information and emailing different plastic surgeons. My second hit was a success. Dr Hanikeri had done belly button reconstruction before, especially for women who had tummy tucks, so he had a good idea of what I was after.
So, I had a procedure called umbilicoplasty which is a fancy term to make your “outie” an “innie”. Dr Mark Hanikeri was my plastic surgeon; Dr J Macfarlane was my anaesthetist. I had an initial consultation with Dr Mark Hanikeri where we discussed what I was wanting and how he would go about it. I then had to have an ultrasound to see if I had fat in my belly button or a umbilical hernia. I had both (this affects your options of being under a local anesthetic or being knocked out under a general). I then had a pre-op appointment where we did pre-op photos and I could ask any questions. Dr Hanikeri was very clear on what the cost would be; told me about the procedure and the recovery period post op. I also had contact with my anaesthetist to remind me to fast (12 hours before). I live in Broome while Dr Hanikeri is in Perth, so Alicia from his office very helpful, professional and informative in regards to how the process works and what appointments you need, cost of each appointment, etc. I was able to correspond via emails and when I came to Perth it was very smooth as they had all my information ready.
The procedure itself was very smooth. I felt very calm – almost excited – about my surgery. Dr Macfarlane was very reassuring before the procedure.
I did have a reaction to the Tramadol I was given for the pain post surgery so that meant I had to stay in hospital for 24 hours whilst the Tramadol left my system. I had a fainting spell and vomiting but that was due to the pain relief medication not the procedure itself. Dr Macfarlane was very professional and came and checked on me post surgery to make sure I was comfortable and not in any pain.
My recovery was pretty standard in regards to the actual procedure. Because it is in the area of your belly, it can hurt the tummy muscles sitting up and down. You can also feel slightly drowsy as your come out of the medication used to put you under but within 24 hours I was able to take the covers off and have a good look. That night I was even able to shower and get it wet. Those first three days I felt that rest, pain medication and heat packs really helped the recovery.
By one week post op I was able to move around pretty normally but wasn’t allowed to lift anything above 4kg for 6 weeks. The stitches were dissolvable and internal so I didn’t have to have anything else done to the actual site except for a post-op visit to my local GP to check that it was healing well and no infection.
I think like any surgery we are always nervous before going in; about the pain and what it will look like after the procedure – but my advice to others is that as long as you’re calm, informed and have realistic expectations, then like me you’ll hopefully be very surprised and happy with the recovery and the final look of your belly button.
I wish I had done it sooner! I feel amazing!!! I really don’t know why I waited so long… I don’t think I knew how much it bothered me until now – it was the best 30th birthday present I could have given myself – I even got a new bikini to celebrate. Also, I wish I had not been put off by the lack of information in regards to where to start, and who to contact when it comes to plastic surgeons that are confident in performing this particular procedure, as there aren’t very many in Perth.
My friends and family have known for a long time how conscious I was of my “outie”. My family was very supportive dropping me off, picking me up and and taking care of me after the surgery. I have two young children but had the support of my mother and sisters post recovery to help with them. I didn’t tell many people I was getting the procedure as it was purely for myself; but I have had a lot of people comment that I seem prouder of my body, and I seem to have a new love for the beach too! I would also say that my self esteem is amazing now and I feel I can wear clothing for my age group that I’ve never felt I could wear before.
I really feel that you should think about any procedure you are wanting to get, and if it is still bothering you after a year definitely research all the information (cost, if the surgeon has done the procedure before – if so, before and after photos, recovery time versus how you will fit that in your life, etc.). Knowledge is power.
If you’d like to arrange a consultation with Dr Mark Hanikeri phone 08 9380 0311 or if you’d like to read more about him first check out the blogs below: