A Guide to Removing Cesarean Staples After Birth

1
Staples for a C-Section

Cesarean Incision with Staples
Photo © Aurora/Getty Images

When you have a c-section, your doctor must find a way to hold the layers of your body that have been opened closed. Internally there are usually dissolvable sutures or stitches. This means that they will slowly reabsorb into your body and do not need any special care.

The last layers that are held together are on the outside of your body. They can be closed be any of the following:

  • Stitches (sutures)
  • Surgical grade glue
  • Staples

When repairing the incision after you give birth, your doctor will decide what is the best type of material to use. The decision will be made taking into account their normal practices, your skin, your body type, and other factors in your medical history.

Staples will always need to be removed, some stitches will need to be removed, others dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed. This usually happens before you leave the hospital after you've had your baby, but occasionally will not happen until after you've left the hospital. If this is the case, you may need to come in for an appointment with your practitioner, or it may be done by a home health professional.

2
Preparing to Remove the Staples

Cesarean Staples
Photo © Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Your doctor will wash her hands in preparation for removing the staples. She will gather the supplies needed, usually just a special staple remover and a sterile cloth or paper drape. You will be asked to lay back on the exam table.

If you are still in the hospital, you may need to have a bandage removed first. Like many adhesives, it can hurt to have that pulled off of your skin. The nurse or doctor will do their best to brace your incision to make it less painful.

3
Beginning the Staple Removal

Removing the Staples After a Cesarean
Photo © Aurora/Getty Images

As your doctor begins to remove the staples from one end of your c-section incision, she will take the special tool and slip it just under the middle of the staple. Unlike office staple removers, this tool folds the staple down in the middle, bringing the edges of the staple up and out of your skin.

4
Is it painful to have c-section staples removed?

Cesarean section staple removal
Photo © REW

Having c-section staples removed is not usually painful. You may feel a pinch, particularly if the staple has embedded into your skin a bit. You will usually feel just a mild pinching feeling as each staple is removed.

If you have some crusted blood that have formed a scab around the staple, your doctor or their assistant may try to soften the scab with water or hydrogen peroxide. This will help prevent pain from the scab being disturbed.

5
Your C-section Incision After Staples Are Removed

Your c-section incision after the staples are removed.
Your c-section incision after the staples are removed. Photo © AR

Immediately following the staple removal, your skin may be irritated from where the staples were. This is not how your c-section scar will look forever. You may see tiny holes were each end of the staple was in your skin. These usually fade very nicely. Sometimes you don't see them at all after a while or they fade to tiny dots lining your main c-section scar.

Your doctor will also give you instructions on how to care for your incision and discuss warning signs for your incision. Be sure to get these in writing so that you don't forget them. This can be easy to do when you've got a new baby and you are recovering from surgery. It's also handy to give them to those helping you care for you and the baby.

For more information on caring about your c-section scar see: A Guide to C-section Scars

Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Fifth Edition.

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