Also known as a Cesarean birth, a C-Section is a surgical procedure in which a baby is delivered via incisions in the abdomen and uterus. C-Sections can be planned or carried out as an emergency procedure during labour. As with all surgical procedures, a scar develops at the point of incision and can be visible afterwards. Focused Shockwave Therapy has proven to be a successful way of treating scar tissue caused by C-Sections and some of the problems associated with the formation of scar tissue.
About C-Section Scarring
What Is A C-Section Scar?
A C-Section scar refers to the incision mark that is left after a Cesarean section has been carried out. The appearance of a C-Section scar depends upon the type of C-Section incision made during the birth. There are three types of incisions: Low Transverse or bikini incision in which the C-Section Cut curves horizontally across the bikini line. Low Vertical in which the cut extends vertically down the lower abdomen and High Vertical which sits higher on the abdomen and is usually used for pre-term babies, those positioned sideways or if an emergency cesarean has taken place. The length of a C-Section scar is generally about six inches in length.
Post C-Section Scarring & Complications
As a C-Section is major surgery it can take time for the incision to heal. Symptoms of post-surgery healing such as pain, bleeding and/or discharge at the incision site, redness and swelling, cramping and itchiness and burning are all common at 4-6 weeks after birth.
Usually C-Section scars fade and become less noticeable over time however some C-Section scars can develop into either a Keloid or Hypertrophic scar. A Hypertrophic scar occurs when the scar area appears raised above the rest of the skin. A Keloid scar is a hard ridge which occurs when overgrown scar tissue appears over the skin. This can continue to grow and may spread.
What Is Scar Tissue?
Scar tissue is a special type of fibrous tissue that the body generates to repair damaged soft tissue. Whereas normal muscle tissue is made of contractile fibres which are elastic, scar tissue is made from collagen which has limited vascularity (blood flow). As the scar tissue heals it can adhere to other structures, causing pain and restricting mobility and flexibility. This can cause symptoms such as back pain, numbness or pain at the site of the scar, internal pain/discomfort and problems with the bowel and bladder.
How can Focused Shockwave Therapy Help C-Section Scarring?
Focused Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a proven treatment for the management of pain and inflammation and has proven results in accelerating the healing of scar tissue that occurs as result of injury or surgical procedures such as C-Sections.
The treatment works by reducing inflammation, increasing scar mobility and improving tissue healing. It can also aid in reducing the physical appearance of Hypertrophic and Keloid scarring on the body.
What Happens during Focused Shockwave Therapy?
Focused Shockwave treatment works by reducing inflammation, increasing scar mobility and improving tissue healing. Using a hand-held device, a series of high-frequency energy (sound) waves are delivered to the scar area. These precisely directed waves penetrate deep into the affected area, producing a rapid increase in blood circulation and breaking down fibrous scar tissue. By increasing circulation and breaking down the existing scar tissue, healing of the abdominal wall muscles are improved and cell regeneration as part of the body’s own healing process is promoted.
Is Focused Shockwave Therapy Effective In Treating C-Section Scarring?
While results will vary according to the individual, research has shown that the use of Extracorporeal (Focused) Shockwave Therapy can be very successful in aiding the healing and rehabilitation of hypertropic, keloid and normal scar tissue on a superficial (skin) and deep muscle level*.
Osteopath Helen How has a had a life-long professional interest in the treatment of pre and post-partum women and prioritises a patient centred approach to all treatments. Her newly refurbished treatment room is is a warm, tranquil and none-threatening space in which patients feel secure, enabling them to relax and engage with their osteopathic treatments.
To book your appointment for Focused Shockwave Therapy please contact osteopath Helen How by email or telephone 0131 551 1044.
Shockwave Therapy for Wound Healing & Scar Treatment National Library of Medicine Dec 2020
"Helen has a real empathy with her patients, she combines exceptional skill with the latest technology, facilitating recovery where others fail."