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Skin problems on and around the umbilicus

Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, October 2015.


Links to pages about skin conditions that favour the umbilicus.

Congenital malformations

Congenital malformations are not usually primarily cutaneous.

  • Malformations of the omphalomesenteric duct
  • Urachal malformations
  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Hernia
  • Granulation tissue after cord separation
  • Supernumerary nipple

Acquired malformations

Skin diseases


Benign tumours

Malignant tumours

Signs of systemic disease

  • Red umbilicus in babies with cow's milk protein intolerance
  • Red umbilicus associated with gangrenous bowel or peritonitis
  • Umbilical ecchymosis (Cullen sign) in haemorrhagic pancreatitis, ruptured ectopic pregnancy or any cause of retroperitoneal bleeding
  • Primary systemic amyloidosis
  • Crohn disease
  • Radial dilation of veins due to portal hypertension



  • Kieliszak CR, Pollinger TH, Tollefson MM, Griffin JR. Umbilical and periumbilical dermatoses. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Jun;72(6):1066–73. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2015.02.1100. Epub 2015 Apr 1. Review. PubMed PMID: 25840731.

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