Thursday, July 24, 2008

PSA #3 - Clean Your Navel

You shower regularly. You don't smell. You're pretty clean. But have you looked in your belly button lately? You may be one of the millions of Americans who are walking around with years' worth of fuzz and debris in that little dimple. It doesn't get clean by accident. You have to probe the depths deliberately to get out the crud. It's just too good a hiding place otherwise.

I never gave it much thought before I took to operating on people's abdomens. At the start of every case, someone cleans the skin off with an antiseptic. Part of that process includes cleaning out the belly button. Sometimes a cotton swab is enough. Sometimes you have to get serious and break out the metal instruments to extract what's lurking there.

It can get pretty ugly.

I once saw a lady in my office who was afraid she had cancer. Her doctor had noticed a black mass growing out of her umbilicus and sent her for a surgical consult. She even got a CAT scan to see if this was something growing from the inside out. It wasn't. It was belly button crud. I grabbed it with a clamp, and--Viola! the "tumor" was gone. If only all cancer was that easy to fix.

I think the problem is gravity makes our parts sag a bit. The mid section is no exception. The top part likes to flap over and cover the belly button when we're upright, which is the position most of us clean ourselves in, after all. Unless you're intentionally trying, you may never see the inside of your navel.

So here's my advice:
At least occasionally, check it out. Lie down on your bed, pull up that top skin, and swab out the depths. You may be surprised at what's been living there.


Jenny said...

This is totally disgusting!

Anita said...

I have a friend who worked with a funeral home. They once found a spider web, spider, babies, etc. in an elderly woman's belly button. So, listen to Dr. Suzanne people! She knows of what she speaks!!

Eric said...

Perfect timing for this...Isaac tried to hide a cheerio in his belly button yesterday. I guess I'll have to keep an eye on that!


Lori said...

I must have missed this post in my blog hopping.

OK, this post had me giggling. I'm going to tell Jim that you found something big and nasty in his Navel. Hee, Hee I'm just kidding.

I know Jim cleans out his Navel often.