Our style and tastes can change as we get older. Just like hairstyles, the trends we adopt in our youth may not translate into our current lifestyles. For those who sported belly button piercings back in the day, there are a few options for closing the hole that’s left behind. Thankfully, there’s a simple procedure to repair a piercing hole if it no longer fits your style.
“When the belly button is pierced, it creates a tunnel of skin, which is what we call epithelializing or the passage of the piercing,” explains New York plastic surgeon Brad M. Gandolfi, MD. “When that piercing is removed, that skin tunnel remains. This leaves a firmness and scar in the area.” While one can take a nonsurgical approach to closing the hole, the experts we spoke to all said for the best results, the hole should be closed via surgery or stitching.
Stitching It Back Together
Rochester, NY dermatologist Lesley Loss, MD says her approach is to sew the hole back together. “This involves local numbing or an anesthetic to the area,” she says. “A small incision is then made to remove the tract or hole left by the piercing and then we put in a couple of stitches that stay in for 1-2 weeks. It usually leaves a small linear scar that is less noticeable than a hole.”
According to Campbell, CA dermatologist Amelia K. Hausauer, MD, this is a request often seen after childbirth. “I do get this request from time to time especially in those post-partum where the hole has distorted. The only true way to correct is to surgically repair and close the hole.” To address wrinkled skin above the belly button, Dr. Hausauer recommends radio-frequency microneedling, hyperdiluated Radiesse or a skin-tightening procedure. “These will make the hole smaller, but does not make it hole go away,” she adds.
Tummy Tuck Add-On
Dr. Gandolfi says many times he’s performing a surgical belly button piercing repair as part of a tummy tuck procedure. “In this case, the scar is removed during the abdominoplasty. Otherwise, the tract needs to be removed in its entirety,” he says. “This is done surgically where the scar is removed and the incisions are hidden within the belly button. Then, the old piercing becomes a distant memory.”
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