C-section Scars: Types Of Incisions, Healing, And Treatment

C-section Scars: Types Of Incisions, Healing, And Treatment

5 Apr 2022 | 7 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 799 Articles

As a mum, your priority is to ensure that your little one arrives safely and healthily into the world. And if that means delivering via c-section, you probably wouldn’t hesitate even once. While c-sections are generally safe, they involve a surgical process, where your abdomen and uterus are incised to deliver your baby. It may take a while for your incision to heal, and it’s natural for you to do everything to ensure the wound heals well and the scar tissue is minimised.

Most c-section scars heal nicely and leave only a faint line above your pubic hairline, easily covered by clothing, underwear, and bathing suits. Nevertheless, knowing all about c-section scars, their different types, and treatment methods can help you ensure better care and prevent the risk of infections and skin irritation. We have compiled all the details, including how long the scars take to heal, and possible treatment methods.

Types of C-section Incisions

Types of C-section Incisions
C-section scars are of two types and they are mostly decided by your doctor based on your condition / Image credit: Freepik

It’s crucial for you to know that a c-section surgery doesn’t involve a single cut or incision, but rather two. Your surgeon will make an abdominal incision first, then a uterine incision to remove your baby. Both the incisions will be about 4-6 inches, just big enough for your baby’s head and body to fit through.

The type of cut, however, may not be the same. Meaning, you may have a different incision in your abdomen and uterus. The incision in your abdomen will be either:

  • Horizontal: A low-transverse incision or a “bikini cut,” used in almost all c-section surgeries. This incision is done on the lowest part of your uterus, which is thinner and ensures much less bleeding. It is also less likely to split if you try having a vaginal birth while delivering your future baby.
  • Vertical: Also referred to as the classical incision, this is performed down the middle of your uterus. It used to be common, but now it is only one in specific scenarios. For instance, while delivering a premature baby, if the baby is in an unusual position, or if a health emergency is required for immediate delivery. A vertical incision is slightly more painful and may take a little longer time to heal.

The incision on your uterus will be either low-transverse, low vertical/classic, depending on your abdominal incision. If you have a bikini cut, then your uterine incision will be low-traverse, and if your baby is in an awkward position, you will have either a classic or low-vertical incision. 

How Is Your C-section Incision Closed?

The incision in your uterus is closed with dissolvable stitches, but the one on your abdomen may be closed in one of the three ways.

  • Staples: Your doctor will use a skin stapler to close off your incisions. This is a popular choice as it is the easiest and quickest option.
  • Stitches: For this, the doctor will use a needle and thread to bring the incision together. This method takes a little more time but is usually seamless and encourages healthy healing of the incision scar.
  • Glue: Surgical glue is designed to seal the skin (don’t worry, it won’t wash away), and is topped with a transparent dressing. Some experts believe that glue heals your scar the fastest, and leaves the least visible scar.

The method of closing the incision is only decided once your surgery is done, and your doctor will take into account several factors before making their choice. 

General Care for Your C-section Incision

General Care for Your C-section Incision
Do not indulge in heavy activities and get as much rest as you can to minimise incision pain / Image credit: Freepik

While a c-section is a safe procedure, it’s still major surgery and needs to be cared for and treated properly to prevent infection or injury. 

  • Clean the incision daily: The incision area will feel sore for a while, but you will still need to keep it clean. Allow water and soap to run down the incision while showering, or gently wipe the area with a cloth. 
  • Wear loose-fitted clothing: Tight clothing might irritate your incision, hence make sure to wear loose clothing for a while. Stick to baggy shirts and pyjamas, which expose your scar to the air, and expedite the healing process.
  • Avoid exercising: Don’t exercise until your doctor gives you a go-ahead. Too much movement and activity can cause your incision stitch to reopen. Hence, take as much rest as you can, and hold up on exercising for a good 3-4 weeks after your delivery.
  • Apply heat to your abdomen: Heat therapy can ease the soreness and pain around your incision. Apply a heating pad to your abdomen for 15 minutes multiple times a day.

Possible Concerns after a C-section

While taking care of your incision, you must watch out for signs of infections and other complications. An infection can occur if germs spread to your surgical site and require immediate medical attention. In case of an infection, you may have the following symptoms.

  • A fever over 38°C
  • Pus coming out from your incision
  • Increased pain, swelling, or redness

Treatment of the infection will require oral or intravenous antibiotics, depending on your condition. Also, keep in mind that it’s normal to feel numbness around your incision site, but it typically improves within a week or two. However, if the numbness persists for more than 3-4 weeks, then you should consult your doctor immediately, as it could be an indication of nerve damage.

How to Minimise Scarring after Your C-section

It may take some time for your scar to heal, and unfortunately, most scars don’t always fade away completely. If you are left with a scar line, then you can use the following tips to reduce its appearance.

  • Use silicone gels or sheets: Silicone can restore your skin’s health and strengthen the connective tissue. According to research, it is often used to soften and flatten scars, and reduce the pain associated with them. Apply silicone gel or sheets directly over your wound to minimise the appearance of the scar and pain. 
  • Get a massage: Regularly massaging your scar, after it heals can also help reduce its appearance. Massaging stimulates blood flow in your skin, which then encourages cellular growth and gradually aids in fading the scar. 
  • Laser therapy: This treatment uses beams of light to improve the damaged parts of your skin. It can help soften and reduce the appearance of the scar, as well as the raised scar tissue. You may need multiple sessions to achieve the desired results.
  • Scar revision: If you have a noticeable scar, then your surgeon will reopen and close the scar, removing damaged skin, and making it less noticeable so that it blends with your surrounding skin. 


A c-section surgery is necessary when you are unable to deliver vaginally. While it’s a safe process to deliver your baby, it involves a surgical incision, which leaves a scar on your abdomen. With time, c-section scars heal and are barely noticeable as they fade into a thin line. However, if your scarring persists, and if you wish to minimise its appearance, you can consult your doctor for guidance and treatment options. 

Cover Image Credit: Freepik.com



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