Outies out, innies in: the vogue for belly button reshaping surgery

Ashamed of your navel? Or just want to keep up with the Kardashians? Heres the lowdown on the surgical procedure de nos jours

I will never forget my first time. It was 1998, at Camden market in north London, on my lunch break from school: 15 changed hands followed by the blissful scrape of the needle pushing through the flesh of my belly button. I was 15, and crop-tops and Gwen Stefani were both big news. Plus, I had an outie (the shame!), and the prospect of bejewelling my crater-like belly button was too exciting to resist. Unfortunately, the bolt of metal in my stomach did not feel as attached to me as I was to it and, after weeping and turning a vibrant shade of red, my skin rejected the piercing.

Some years later, having had three large babies who stretched and contorted my once-svelte stomach that even now, with my youngest aged two and a half, the skin on my tummy resembles an empty Ikea bag (with additional red scars). So it is with interest that I learn that the beauty trend of 2018 is belly button reshaping.

It is a simple surgical procedure and there are two types. Umbilicoplasty is the process of changing the size or shape of your belly button, whether you want it smaller or larger (perhaps because you have had a botched piercing). Umbilical hernia repair is having an outie made into an innie.

Both Kim and Khlo Kardashian are said to have had versions of the operation, which involves having the excess skin that surrounds the belly button removed post-birth to reduce its size.

Perhaps the resurgence of the crop-top has helped increase interest in the procedure as well as the endless need to find new ways to make young women and girls feel down on themselves. But getting any of the private clinics that advertise the procedure to discuss it has proved intriguingly hard.

After weighing up my options, will I be forking out about 1,000 to have my unsightly tummy made more palatable for my fellow beach-goers? I think, long-term, I would rather keep it as a stark warning to my children that sometimes what you have is exactly what it should be.

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