Several types of Cesarean section exist, with the main difference being in the way the incision is made to cut through the skin and uterus.
Traditional Cesarean section
The classic Cesarean section (C-section) involves a long, vertical incision being made in the midline of the abdomen. Once the skin is incised, the uterus is also incised vertically, and the baby is delivered.
Due to the size of the incision, this type of C-section allows a large amount of space for delivering the baby. However, the procedure is associated with post-surgical complications and is not commonly used today. The long incision weakens the abdominal muscles and increases the risk of hernia for years after surgery. Furthermore, once this type of C-section is performed, a vaginal birth is not safe for the delivery of future pregnancies.
The lower uterine segment Cesarean section (LUCS)
For this type of C-section, an incision is made just above the pubic hairline just above the bladder. This is a horizontal incision that cuts through the underlying uterus as well as the skin. The baby is delivered by inserting a hand into the uterus and pulling the baby out. This is one of the most common methods of C-section delivery used today.
After the surgery, the risk of bleeding and other complications such as hernia are minimal and the surgical wound repairs more easily than the wound that is left after a traditional C-section. Furthermore, a woman may still choose a vaginal delivery for any future births.
A C-section that is performed due to complications such as non-progress of labour or severe pre-eclampsia, is an emergency C-section which is usually performed as a LUSCS procedure.
A Cesarean hysterectomy involves removing the uterus during the same procedure as the C-section delivery. This may be needed in cases of severe post-delivery bleeding from the placenta or when the placenta cannot be separated from the uterus walls.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc