September 20, 2020

 A caesarian section (C-section) is a safe surgery performed on a pregnant mother by making incisions in the abdomen and her uterus to deliver a baby. It is an inevitable procedure for people who develop complications when giving birth and can’t have the baby naturally.

The surgery leaves a wound on your body. That means you will experience scarring after the incision heals. The medical team provides you with directives on caring for the scar to avoid c-section scar infection, among other complications.

This article answers the top 14 most commonly asked questions about c-section scars.

1.What is a C-section Scar?

A C-section scar is the scarring that occurs after the incision is done during the delivery procedure heals. The scar appearance depends on many factors, including the type of incision, the individual’s body type, and more. 


2.Which Type of Incision will the Doctor Use?

The type of incision your doctor uses determines the scar that you’ll develop. The most common type of incision is horizontal, otherwise called the bikini incision. 

This incision is made just at the top of your pubic bone or over the pubic hairline. These incisions present lower bleeding risks and tearing up if you have a vaginal delivery, commonly known as VABC( vaginal birth after a c-section) in a subsequent pregnancy.

The other type of c-section incision is the vertical incision. Vertical abdomen incisions were common years back, but today, they are infrequent. This type of incision, also called vertical midline, only occurs in extreme circumstances.

The uterine incision can also be either vertical or horizontal (bikini). The type of uterine incision that you get will also determine if you will have a VABC in subsequent births. 

A horizontal uterine incision is the most popular. However, you can get a different type of incision depending on the reason for undergoing the C-section procedure, such as if the baby is in an odd position or when delivering a preterm baby.


3.What Materials Will Be Used to Close My Incision?

There are different materials for skin closure. The materials that your surgeon uses to close your C-section incision can affect the kind of scarring that develops -with some materials having an increased risk of skin separation, thereby requiring reclosure, according to Cochrane Library

The choice of these materials depends on your body type or the doctor’s preference. The surgeon can use:

  • Sutures (absorbable or non-absorbable, natural or synthetic, single filament or braided)
  • Staples
  • Glue
  • Steri-strips (specialized tape)
  • A combination of one or a few of these

Some of these closure materials, for example, staples, are temporarily and must be pulled out after a specific period. This also depends on how your scar is healing as well as on practitioners’ preferences.


4.Is It Normal for My C-Section Scar to Itch?

Yes. Itching is normal. It is a sign of healing. However, avoid scratching or scrubbing the scar. You can reduce the itching sensation by holding something tightly over the scar or gently massaging it.

The itching could also be due to pubic hair growth if it had been shaved before the c-section procedure. If you still develop itching after the pubic hair grows back, then the scar is just healing.


5.What Can I do if  I Develop Pain in My Incision?

In the first few days after your surgery, pain is a common thing. The doctor prescribes pain medication that is appropriate for use during that period.

However, if the pain persists, you must seek medical advice. Some signs that suggest complications include:

  • Fever
  • Extreme or worsening pain
  • Swelling or redness around the incision
  • Oozing pus coming out of the incision area 

These could be signs of a C-section infection, and thus it needs prompt medical attendance.


6.Is It Normal to Feel Numb around the C-Section Scar?

Some women report feeling nothing around the scar area and others temporarily lack sensation. Feeling numb is not a significant complication, but it is problematic, especially if it does not go away. If this numbness persists, seek further medical further evaluation.


7.What Do you Do if your C-section Scar Is Irritated?

You must keep the C-section site ever clean and completely dry after bathing. This helps keep bacteria away from the site. 

If you cannot manage to clean the scar because perhaps the skin shelf is hanging over the incision, let your physician know. They may recommend products like cornstarch to apply once the scar is healed. Also, you can use cotton or gauze and always dry the scar thoroughly after taking a bath.

For the first few months, avoid wearing clothing that directly squeezes or sits on the C-section scar-for instance, trousers. You may continue with your maternity wardrobe until the scar heals.


8.What Will My Scar Look Like?

A C-section scar, when healed, measures around 4 to 6 inches. This length varies for different people as some require a larger space to birth their babies, and also the placement of the incision differs.

The C-section scar may appear raised like a keloid or flat, depending on how the body heals. Some people develop thick scars known as hypertrophic scars if their healing process kicks in overdrive. A hypertrophic scar remains in the same spot as the incision, unlike the keloid ones that tend to be thicker and extend way beyond the original wound.


9.Why is my C-section Scar Hard?

Any surgery causes an injury to the skin. The c-section scar inhibits the skin muscles that were disrupted during surgery, making it harder for them to function appropriately. When these muscles contract, they tighten the scar tissue as well as the surrounding fascia.


10.How Long Does a C-Section Scar Take to Heal?

The c-section scars take a while to heal. However, you’ll notice subtle changes daily. As the scar starts to heal, the speed is higher, but the changes began to slow down with time.

The length of time a c-section scar takes to heal depends on an individual body type. Some of the factors that can impede healing include infection or poor nutrition. Taking good care of the scar, and eating healthy will speed up the healing process.


11.Does the C-section Scar Disappear?

After the c-section surgery, every woman develops a scar. This scar fades over time, but it is a permanent reminder of their bundles of joy. 

While the scar may never go away, it’s possible to improve its appearance. This depends on different factors, including:

  • The type of incision you get
  • How long ago you had the C-section surgery
  • The number of incisions made in the same spot
  • The type of repair your doctor did
  • The materials the doctor uses(staples, glue, steri-strips, sutures)
  • How your body healed
  • The tendency of your body to scar

To reduce the scar prominence, you may try the topical C-section cream and the over-counter products such as silicone products, such as silicone sheeting and strips. Alternatively, you can try other scar treatment methods, including steroid injections. 

This kind of treatment can be started right after the C-section surgery to help prevent keloid or hypertrophic scars. You can be injected steroids monthly for at least six months, depending on your scar condition.

Home remedies and the application of essential oils may also help in c-section removal, and it can help reduce the appearance of the scar. It’s vital to ask your doctor the best treatment for your skin.


12.When Should I Massage my C-section Scar? 

Your doctor may advise you to do a scar massage to reduce the itching and decrease scar tissue. Rubbing the scar is vital also to soften it and make it less noticeable.

You can massage the scar after the doctor removes the sutures and after the scabs fall off on their own. This can occur two weeks post-procedure. Use your fingertips to massage the scar and the tissues around it gently.

Also, you can try scar massage by a trained massage therapist. Before doing a c-section scar massage, you need to receive a confirmation that the incision has closed. The tissues will respond rapidly and minimize a large number of adhesions from occurring.


13.How do I Cosmetically Treat a C-section Scar?

To treat the c-section scar, you can also try several long-term cosmetic treatments, including:

  •  Laser Therapy

Laser treatment is an ideal option though it doesn’t entirely fade the scar. You should have several therapy sessions to improve the appearance of the scar to a less severe one with less discolouration. You can go for this treatment just a few days after the initial recovery.

  • A C-section Scar Revision

This is an ideal treatment used in severe cases to try and remove excess tissues. A scar revision is a surgical procedure that can be done just a few months after the initial surgery. 

The method involves the surgeon cutting out the scar tissues to create a new tissue that is more appealing aesthetically. Consult with your skin therapist to better understand the whole procedure.


14.Can you Get a Flat Stomach after C-section?

Yes. You can begin simple exercises after a month of post-surgery. Also, you may try cosmetic procedures like a tummy tuck.

A tummy tuck is an intense cosmetic treatment option. The dermatologist cuts aways not just the c-section scar but also the skin and fat around the area. 

After a tummy tuck procedure, your body appears more toned and slimmer. After trying any cosmetic treatment, it’s vital to observe the aftercare tips like avoiding sun exposure to reduce the scar tissue damage.