If 2017 was all about lips and butts, 2018 is kicking off to be all about the belly button.

In the past year, U.S. interest in belly button surgery has increased 12 percent on RealSelf. In the U.K., that number is even higher — up 21 percent over 2017.

Belly button surgery, or umbilicoplasty, is a procedure that changes the size, appearance or shape of the belly button. It’s often performed with a tummy tuck or body lift, but it can be done alone, too.

What’s the “ideal” belly button? Experts tell us that many people ask for a vertical, oval belly button to make the torso appear longer and the abs leaner.


Why it’s so popular now

Belly button surgery can fix an umbilical hernia, change an outie to an innie and repair the area after a belly button ring, pregnancy or laparoscopic surgery.

“I feel people are more self-aware and spend considerable time looking at their own pictures and selfies,” says Dr. David Shafer, a New York plastic surgeon. “Also with facetuning and other apps, people pay particular attention to the fine details about their bodies.”

If the person has had a liposuction or tummy tuck, it also can fix any concerns around that area.

“In liposuction of the abdomen, the amount of fat around the belly button is removed, which can change the appearance of the belly button,” Dr. Shafter adds. “Also with a tummy tuck, there is often a necessary incision around the belly button.”


Related: More people are seeking cosmetic treatments to improve their selfies


Who’s getting it

“When I was 15, I had the bright idea of piercing my own belly button,” said one RealSelf reviewer, explaining her experience that led to belly button surgery. “It was pierced wrong, got infected, and I had to take it out. What’s worse is that I had pretty bad anxiety back then, so I would repeatedly scratch the scar off all the time.”

“It has always been something that has really bothered me,” she adds. “I decided it was time to do this for myself and put myself at ease.”

Moms looking to get their pre-baby bodies back can also turn to belly button surgery.

“After my second child, my belly button didn’t go back or resemble anything of what it looked like pre-pregnancy,” says another RealSelf reviewer. “I decided that I wanted to get it fixed. I figured that I deserved it, and I wanted to feel comfortable in a two-piece bikini again.”


What it involves

Your surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb the area, and you’ll probably take a sedative for relaxation. The procedure takes 30 to 40 minutes, and over-the-counter pain meds are usually enough for recovery.

As with any surgery, swelling and bruising are common for about a week. If you’re hoping to get your navel redone before summer, give yourself time. It can take several months to fully heal.

While it may seem like a simple procedure, Dr. Shafer warns that is still a serious surgery and special care should be taken when picking a surgeon. He recommends a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic surgery of the body.


How much it costs

Belly button surgery cost will vary based on location, surgeon and complexity of the surgery. According to prices reported on RealSelf, you should expect to spend around $2,275 on belly button surgery.


Ready to learn more? Find a belly button surgeon near you today.