A bikini cut is a method of incision used in abdominal surgeries. For many years doctors commonly used what is often known as a classical incision for abdominal surgeries. However the bikini incision has grown in popularity and more patients are now opting for it. The bikini incision is also referred to as the Pfannenstiel incision, after Hermann Johann Pfannenstiel, who introduced this type of incision in the early 1900s.
A classical, or classic, abdominal incision is a vertical incision made from the navel to the top of the bikini line. One of the main disadvantages of the classic surgical incision is that a portion of the incision scar is often visible when a bikini bottom is worn. A bikini cut is a horizontal incision that is made from one side of the abdomen to the other, right above the pubic hair line. The location of the bikini incision enables the patient to hide the incision scar when wearing a bikini bottom, hence the name.
Abdominal surgeries and procedures that may utilize the bikini cut incision include hysterectomies, cesarean sections, tubal ligations, tubal ligation reversals, appendectomies and the removal of ovarian cysts and fibroids. For most of these procedures the advantage of the bikini cut is that it generally leaves a smaller and less noticeable incision scar and typically causes less pain after surgery. The bikini incision also frequently contributes to a lower rate of hernia formation and a faster recovery time over abdominal surgeries utilizing a classical incision.
The major disadvantage of the bikini cut is that the location of the incision makes it more difficult to view or to access the upper abdominal area during surgery. The upper abdominal location of the classical incision provides a surgeon with more room to maneuver and operate during abdominal surgery. Another advantage of a classical incision is that it enables a quicker delivery time during a cesarean section.
In addition to a less visible scar, a major advantage of using a bikini cut incision is that it may allow a mother the possibility of a vaginal birth for a subsequent pregnancy after a cesarean birth. A vaginal birth after a cesarean is typically not possible when a classic incision is used due to the threat of scar tissue from the incision tearing and reopening during delivery. Therefore mothers who undergo a cesarean section utilizing a classic incision will generally need a cesarean section for all subsequent births.