World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000231386
Reproduction Date:

Title: Navel  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Midriff, Abdomen, Anatomical terms of location, McBurney's point, Navel piercing
Collection: Abdomen
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The human navel is a scar left after the umbilical cord detaches.
Latin Umbilicus
Precursor Umbilical cord
Ductus venosus
Umbilical artery
Umbilical vein
MeSH D014472
Anatomical terminology

The navel (clinically known as the umbilicus, colloquially known as the belly button, or tummy button) is a scar[1] on the abdomen at the attachment site of the umbilical cord. All placental mammals have a navel, and it is quite conspicuous in humans.[2] Other animals' navels tend to be smoother and flatter, often nothing more than a thin line, and are often obscured by fur.[3]


  • Structure 1
  • Clinical significance 2
    • Disorders 2.1
    • Other disorders 2.2
    • Surgery 2.3
    • Safety 2.4
  • Society and culture 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6


The navel is the centre of the circle in this drawing of the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci

The umbilicus is used to visually separate the abdomen into quadrants. The navel is the center of the circle enclosing the spread-eagle figure in Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man drawing. The navel is rarely the focus in contemporary art and literature.[4]

The umbilicus is a prominent mark on the abdomen, with its position being relatively consistent amongst humans. The skin around the waist at the level of the umbilicus is supplied by the tenth thoracic spinal nerve (T10 dermatome). The umbilicus itself typically lies at a vertical level corresponding to the junction between the L3 and L4 vertebrae,[5] with a normal variation among people between the L3 and L5 vertebrae.[6]

While the shape of the human navel may be affected by long term changes to diet and exercise, unexpected change in shape may be the result of ascites.[7]

Clinical significance


In addition to change in shape being a possible side effect from ascites and umbilical hernias, the navel can be involved in umbilical sinus or fistula, which in rare cases can lead to menstrual or fecal discharge from the navel. Menstrual discharge from the umbilicus is associated with umbilical endometriosis, a rare disorder.[8][9]

Other disorders

  • Omphalitis, inflammatory condition of umbilicus, usually infected by gram positive bacteria.


To minimize scarring, the navel is a recommended site of incision for various surgeries, including transgastric appendicectomy,[10] gall bladder surgery,[11] and the umbilicoplasty[12] procedure itself.


The Heimlich Maneuver, a method of dislodging an object stuck in the throat, is performed just above the navel.[13]

Society and culture

The public exposure of the male and female midriff and bare navel has been taboo at times in Western cultures, being considered immodest or indecent. It was banned in some jurisdictions, however the community perceptions have changed and exposure of female midriff and navel is more accepted today and in some societies or contexts, it is both fashionable and common, though not without its critics.[14]

While the West was relatively resistant to midriff-baring clothing until the 1980s, it has long been a fashion with Indian women.[15] The Japanese have long had a special regard for the navel. During the early Jomon period in northern Japan, three small balls indicating the breasts and navel were pasted onto flat clay objects to represent the female body. The navel was exaggerated in size, informed by the belief that the navel symbolizes the center of where life begins.[16]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ MedlinePlus Encyclopedia Abdominal thrusts
  14. ^
  15. ^ Banerjee, Mukulika & Miller, Daniel (2003) The Sari. Oxford; New York: Berg ISBN 1-85973-732-3
  16. ^

Further reading

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.