The Facts about C-Section Scar Care and Silicone

Last Updated: 2/27/2017

Having a baby is a big deal. Countless concerns run through the minds of new mothers and experienced ones alike. If you’re having a caesarean section, also known as a C-section, the prospect of having a surgery AND a baby at the same time can be overwhelming. Don’t fret! Thousands of women have safe C-sections and welcome healthy babies every day. Knowing what to expect will help put your mind at ease and allow you to put more of your focus towards your new arrival. Reading this guide to scar care and our C-section recovery guide will help you prepare for your delivery.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER A C-SECTION

You can expect to spend at least three days in the hospital following a C-section, although some women may need to stay longer. You’ll need lots of rest and the hospital staff will be working around the clock to make sure you and your baby are healthy. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance with anything you need, even if that’s simply more rest – you’ve earned it.

On the first day following the delivery, you’ll likely receive a low dosage of morphine to manage your pain. You will be very tired, groggy, and possibly nauseated. Heavy bleeding is common and you will go through many menstrual pads. Your incision site may be itchy. You might have to wait 24 hours or until you pass gas before you can eat, as the doctors will want to be sure that your intestines are functioning healthily. A nurse will teach you how to cough safely and will show you how to do exercises which help to expand and clear the lungs.

On the second day, you might transition to an oral painkiller. The catheter will be removed and you will need to walk to the bathroom. This will seem like quite a feat, but it is good to be on your feet a little bit. Have a nurse or family member help you. Your intestines will be doing a lot of “waking up” and you may feel strange sensations in your gut.

Typically, on or around the third day, you’ll be discharged from the hospital. If you don’t feel physically prepared yet, you can ask to be reevaluated and stay in the hospital until you’re confident that you can safely return home. You’ll be sent home with prescriptions for pain medication – have a family member pick these up as soon as possible because you will likely need them soon.

At home, you will need someone to assist you with day-to-day tasks for the first few days. You will be advised not to lift anything heavier than your baby and you will not be able to safely bend over or reach very far. Two weeks after the delivery, you will visit your doctor to have the incision site looked at to be sure it is healing properly. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about anything and everything that’s on your mind!

During the recovery process, the incision site will be sore and often itchy. Your scar will be raised and puffy but will shrink within the coming weeks – silicone sheeting (such as the built in silicone panel in C-Panty) can assist in reducing itching and burning and promoting proper scar healing. Any pressure on the abdomen will be painful at first but will become less intense and less tender as the recovery progresses. Six weeks after the delivery, you should be fully recovered and you will return to the doctor for your final checkup.

C-SECTION INCISIONS

There are a few types of C-section incisions. Each type of incision has its own advantages and disadvantages and the preferred type depends on each mother’s unique circumstances. No matter what type of incision you use, C-Panty can assist during the recovery process by providing comfortable, healing compression and medical-grade silicone sheeting.

Types of C-Section incisions

  • A low transverse incision is horizontal and generally under the bikini line. This is by far the most common type of C-section incision, accounting for approximately 95% of modern C-sections. The incision is made at the lowest part of the uterus. Because the skin is thinner there, the incision has the advantage of causing comparatively less bleeding and being less likely to split if a vaginal delivery happens later in life.
  • A classical incision is horizontal but is located much higher than a low transverse decision. This type of C-section incision might be used for rapid delivery of a preterm fetus. It could also be a preferred type of incision for a mother who previously had a C-section with a low transverse incision.
  • A low vertical incision is located at roughly the same place as a classical incision but, as the name implies, it runs vertically. This type of incision might be used if the baby is in an awkward position, such as on its side.

Proper sealing of a C-section incision is vital to ensure safe and speedy healing. There are numerous ways to close the incision. The method used depends on a variety of factors, such as unique anatomy features, the type of incision, and doctor preference.

Types of C-Section incision sealing

  • Staples are applied with a specialized skin stapler. They are generally removed 3 to 4 days after the C-section. Staples can be applied quickly and easily, but they generally have a higher risk of infection than most other sealing methods.
  • Sutures are threads which are used to seal the skin, much like a needle and thread can be used to create fabric. This is a very common method of sealing wounds of various types. Compared to staples, they are a more difficult and time-consuming sealing method for doctors, but they have a lower infection risk. Both dissolvable and non-dissolvable sutures exist. Non-dissolvable sutures are usually removed by a doctor within 3 to 5 days after the C-section.
  • Incision glue can also be used to close a C-section incision. This is a medical grade superglue and it dries within seconds. After the glue is applied, the area is usually topped with a dressing. This sealing method is generally the fastest healing and leaves less visible scars. The bond formed protects against infections very effectively and is waterproof, allowing mothers to bathe much sooner after delivery. However, allergic reactions to the main ingredients, formaldehyde and cyanoacetate, are fairly common.

Most incision scars are between 4 to 6 inches long and about 1/8th of an inch wide.The scar may itch during the first few weeks of the healing process.

Sometimes irregular scars can form as a C-section incision heals. You can help to prevent these by following your doctor’s instructions to the letter, making sure that you keep the incision site clean and protected, and through the use of scar creams and silicone compression panties such as C-Panty.

Types of Irregular C-section Scars

  • When the scar tissue expands beyond the incision’s original boundaries, a keloid is formed. This causes an overgrowth of scar tissue, giving the scar a lumpy appearance.
  • A hypertrophic scar is formed when there are excessive amounts of collagen, a structural protein. This type of scar stays within the original boundaries of the incision and usually does not raise from the surface of the skin as much as a keloid.

C-SECTION RECOVERY TIPS

The incision site will generally be covered with adhesive bandages known as Steri-Strips. These bandages keep the wound closed and clean. They will fall off on their own within a few days as they lose their adhesiveness. It is very important to not attempt to remove them yourself unless advised to by a doctor.

Do not attempt to lift anything heavier than your baby, bend down, or reach for far objects for at least 2 weeks after the C-section. Doing so may cause the incision site to split, potentially causing dangerous complications and severely prolonging healing time.

In the shower, do not scrub the incision site. Simply let soapy water drip onto the area of the wound. When finished, gently pat the area dry with a towel.

Wear comfortable panties, especially those designed to facilitate a faster C-section recovery. C-Panty is a great choice, favored by many mothers for its compression’s ability to support the abdomen and its silicone panel’s ability to reduce scarring.

Do not exercise until your doctor permits you to, but do make an effort to move around as much as possible. Putting the baby in the stroller and walking around the neighborhood is great for mental health as well as facilitating physical recovery.

BENEFITS OF SILICONE FOR C-SECTION INCISION HEALING

Silicone is the only FDA approved material to treat scarring. Many doctors recommend the use of silicone to aid in the healing process. Silicone helps to keep the wound hydrated, which facilitates the growth of new cells. It can improve the appearance of C-section incision scars as they heal and can even be used to treat old scars.

In a scar management study conducted by the International Advisory Panel on Scar Management, researchers found that there is good evidence of silicone’s efficacy with regards to scar healing and noted that silicone gel sheeting has become a standard method of care for plastic surgeons. Researchers also conducted a study in which silicone dressings were found to be an effective treatment for keloids and hypertrophic scars. In addition, a study on the prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scars found that scar elasticity was increased in patients who used silicone gel bandages and that topical silicone gel is efficacious in the prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scars.

Silicone should be used daily for at least 2 months for best results. It is non-invasive and can be worn at all times. Ordinarily, silicone sheets can be difficult to keep in place, but C-Panty securely attaches the sheet and allows for more effective recovery. C-Panty was designed by a C-Section mom and M.D. team to assist with healing and scar reduction, reduce swelling, and help new moms get back on their feet as quickly as possible. The gentle compression of C-Panty and other models will help to support abdominal tissue that has been weakened by birth, and can help to prevent secondary injuries and the “c-shelf” bulge commonly seen around new incisions.

You don’t have to take our word for it – make sure to check out our reviews, or ask someone that you know who has tried C-Panty before.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT C-SECTIONS

Q: How long does it take to recover from a C-section?

A: Most women completely recover from a C-section within about 6 weeks, but this varies from person to person. At least 3 days immediately following the surgery will be spent in the hospital.

Q: How can I prepare at home before having a C-section delivery?

A: Create a rest area that includes a comfortable chair, a table easily within arm’s reach, and pillows of multiple sizes nearby. Clean up your home since you will not be able to do so during the first stage of recovery. Stock up on pre-cooked meals and other groceries. stock up on loose fitting clothes and comfortable underwear.

Q: How long do I need to wait after my C-section to start exercising?

A: Most women can begin a low intensity exercise program 6 weeks after recovery, but please check with your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise routine.

Q: Can I choose to have a C-section?

A: A C-section requested by the mother without the recommendation of a doctor is called an “elective C-section”. Every woman’s medical situation is unique and C-sections may be beneficial for some or disadvantageous for others. Talk with your doctor if you are thinking of having an elective C-section.

Q: What are the risks of having a C-section delivery?

A:C-sections are widely regarded amongst medical professionals as being extremely safe, but there are some unique risks. Some possibilities are infections, blood clots, and bowel problems.

Q: Can I breastfeed after having a C-section?

A: A C-section usually will not cause any issues with breastfeeding. However, some women find it uncomfortable because of the pressure on the incision site. If you have issues with breastfeeding, please consult your doctor.