Cesarean section, or C-section, deliveries involve delivering an infant through a surgical incision made on the mother's abdomen and uterus. After delivery, surgical incisions are closed using stitches, staples, glue, or a combination of these methods. The technique used is dependent on various factors that include overall body type or a physician's preference. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the procedure remains quite common and nearly 1/3 of all infants in the United States are delivered in this fashion. However, many mothers have questions about the scar that develops after the procedure.
In the majority of instances, surgeons prefer making a horizontal incision. Sometimes referred to as a bikini incision, the opening is strategically created at the uppermost area of the pubic region. This location helps camouflage the healing wound and subsequent scar.
The scar that develops on the uterus may travel vertically or horizontally. However, it will closely resemble the abdominal scar once healed. The direction and length of this incision plays an important role in determining if a woman can have subsequent vaginal deliveries. These options should be discussed with the physician prior to the delivery.
Common Incision Complaints
Itching is a natural occurrence as the site heals and may become more intense after time. However, women should resist the urge to scratch the site. Avoid wearing underpants or slacks having waistbands that fall directly over the incision, and dry the skin thoroughly after bathing. If the abdomen has overhanging skin, consider using clean cotton or gauze tucked into the fold to protect the healing wound. Once healed, get permission from your physician to perhaps use corn starch to prevent chaffing or perspiration irritation.
Reddening, swelling, increasing discomfort or extreme pain and drainage are common signs of an infection. These symptoms should be reported to a physician as soon as possible.
The time required for complete healing varies from one woman to the next. Factors involved include the incision placement and length, nutrition, and the risk of infection. In time, the incision changes as healing progresses. While the changes are not necessarily visible on a daily basis, in the weeks ahead, there is typically a dramatic improvement in appearance. Once healed, the scar generally measures anywhere from four to six inches in length.
For most women, the scar remains hidden by the pubic hair and is hardly noticeable. Ask your physician about using Mederma Cream or ScarAway sheets to help reduce its appearance even more. In some instances, fractional laser therapy may be needed. The procedure only affects the scar while leaving the surrounding healthy skin tissue undisturbed. Available through a plastic surgeon or cosmetology physician, the process removes dead skin cells and promotes collagen development while shortening healing time.