We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Vertical Incision?

Dan Harkins
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Two types of incisions are typically used for doctors to access the lower abdominal cavity, either to perform a Cesarean section delivery or for other types of elective or exploratory surgery. These cuts might be horizontal, also known as a transverse or Pfannenstiel incision, which runs from side to side at just below the waistband. A mid-line, or vertical incision, runs from just below the navel to the pubic region, offering access to the same muscles and organs beneath.

According to a 2003 study by University of Heidelberg Medical School, published online at the National Institutes of Health Web site, about 90 percent of abdominal incisions up to that point used the vertical incision method at that German hospital. The study, however, revealed that there was no difference in infection, hernia, pain or other complications between the two methods. Due to this doctors were advised to begin allowing patients to decide if they would rather live with a transverse or a vertical incision scar.

One of the more common reasons surgeons must enter the abdominal cavity is to perform a Cesarean section, pulling the newborn from the uterus via the gut and not the vaginal cavity. Hernia repair, tumor removal, organ transplants and hysterectomies are more common reasons men and women must undergo a vertical incision. Depending on the procedure, a doctor may recommend one incision over another. The vertical cut is known to offer the best access to the entire pelvis, but it also leaves a deeper scar. On the other hand, the transverse cut is more discrete, leaves a more subtle scar, and offers just enough access for a baby to come out or a surgeon's instruments to enter.

Several complications can result from open-abdomen incisions, either transverse or vertical. These are not confined to the obvious infections and pain. Complications also could include hernia, clotting, pulmonary difficulties or internal bleeding. These problems are not confined to lower abdominal incisions, either. About a dozen types of incisions are used by abdominal surgeons to access different organ groups — each of which is liable to become infected or develop other more serious complications.

The initial vertical incision clears a path through skin and adipose tissue to reveal a thin layer of muscle and organ system beneath. Typically, surgeons attempt to avoid cutting muscle, which will take the longest to heal and produce the greatest long-term pain. Luckily, the muscle can typically be stretched apart, allowing access to the organs below. In some cases, however, there is no choice but to cut muscle and repair it later.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.
Discussion Comments
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.