Jamie Costello is a medical student in the U.K. that is focusing his education on cosmetic and plastic surgery. Mr. Costello has written a piece for us on cesarean scar repair. Some repairs are needed due to poor healing, or poor surgical technique. Others may be due to a need to remove the “cesarean pouch”, or to remove as much of the scar as possible. Thank you, Mr. Costello, for sharing your knowledge of cesarean scar repair with us.
*Disclaimer: The information in this article is not meant to be a recommendation. Consumers should discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives of all procedures with their healthcare provider in order to make an informed decision.
Plastic Surgery After a Cesarean Section
For some, pregnancy and childbirth can leave long-term physical effects, such as scarring, weight gain, and if you’ve had a cesarean section, adhesions and excessive skin caused by the surgical procedure.
A common result of having a c-section surgery is gaining a puffy pouch of skin which occurs just below the scar. This is more commonly known as the ‘cesarean pouch’. The procedure of a c-section involves the cutting of skin and subcutaneous skin, which is a layer of fat beneath the skin. There’s also the fascia, which is a fibrous tissue in the abdomen which holds vital organs together. This is the main cause of the cesarean pouch as unlike the skin that’s been cut, the fascia is left to heal naturally. How this heals is dependent on the individual, and in some cases, women are left without scarring or excessive skin, but this is quite rare.
Exercising and having a good diet will not remove the cesarean pouch. It would require a surgical procedure such as an abdominoplasty or another form of scar removal. There are several forms that scar removal can take such as laser scar removal, dermabrasion and injections. Over time, during your recovery period, there can be reduced bulging of the pouch or find that scarring begins to deteriorate but this is no guarantee. This is because natural fat can be reduced from a good diet and regular exercise but scar tissue isn’t acted upon.
With this being the case, there are several options available that can help to resolve the c-pouch that you have. Which surgical procedure is suitable depends on the cesarean pouch and the nature of the scar. Below is a list of options available:
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck): This is a popular option for many women that go through a c-section. It can help to reduce the fat in the belly and can also remove the scars depending on where the surgery took place in the abdominal region.
Mini-Tummy Tuck: This is similar to a normal tummy tuck except the procedure focuses more on the lower abdominal region. This would be more ideal for patients who came through the procedure without too much excess skin and had already lost weight after the c-section.
Scar Removal: If the c-pouch occurs around where the incision took place, it would be a possible option to simply remove the scar entirely. This will allow the scar to heal or blend the scar around the tissue.
It’s worth noting that during the tummy tuck procedure scarring can also occur. This raises the question of whether it is worth having a tummy tuck considering you’ll still have scarring. The difference between the c-section scar and the abdominoplasty surgery is that the abdominoplasty procedure can remove the excess c-pouch skin. This means the scar will appear less visible compared to the one received from a c-section procedure and the skin around your stomach will appear tighter.
As well as the abdominoplasty surgery having many benefits to your skin it can also have some drawbacks too. One point to consider is your pain threshold, especially soon after the c-section has taken place. With a c-section, there is an intra abdominal component which is cut. In order for the tummy tuck to be successful, this component is required to be tucked/folded that causes tightness in the area. This can lead to discomfort and pain for some depending on their pain threshold, so it’s important to treat pain promptly.
The recovery period from the tummy tuck surgery is also worth pointing out. Considering a c-section has been performed, the area will feel extremely sensitive to any further surgery that’s being conducted, which is likely to encourage further pain and a slower healing rate. You’ll need to make sure that you’re able to take the required time to rest and allow your scars to heal.
Further complications include blood clots, the ability to retain fluids and infections around the uterus and abdominal wall which could be extremely detrimental to health.
Risks of surgery include: Surgical removal of the cesarean pouch is a lengthy procedure that requires several hours to complete, but if you wish to have your cesarean pouch removed, surgery is an option to consider. Weigh out the pros and cons of having plastic surgery and the reasons why you wish to have it performed. It is important to consult with your doctor beforehand to discuss your individual history, needs and expectations.
Author Bio: Jamie Costello is a medical student based at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He’s looking to build a portfolio to express his knowledge of the various topics taught in his course, “Burns, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”. He’s had previous work experience with a cosmetic surgery Manchester based, which has allowed him to increase his knowledge in surgery topics. In his spare time when he’s not studying, he enjoys cycling and playing several sports including Football.