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 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 11:37 GMT
Speedy Caesareans 'reduce pain'
The new technique is less painful for women
Babies could be delivered by Caesarean section in as little as 20 minutes - which means a far less painful experience for the new mother.

Surgeons say that the technique is far quicker than current methods.

The technique has been developed by doctors in Austria and has been used successfully on 1,000 women so far.

The women recover more quickly. They have reduced blood loss and less pain. They can also leave hospital earlier

Professor Elmar Armin Joura,
Vienna University
The secret of the operation is it reduces blood loss in the mother by half. This cuts the length of the procedure and allows the patient to recover more quickly.

Doctors carry out a blunt dissection of the abdominal wall. While they use a knife to cut the skin, they use blunt instruments to gently pull the uterine wall apart and deliver the baby. This compares with the sharp dissection used by some doctors.

Over in minutes

Professor Elmar Armin Joura of Vienna University who developed the technique, said the operation takes just a few minutes.

"The whole procedure takes 20 minutes but from the time we cut the skin to delivering the baby takes just two minutes," he told BBC News Online.

Women also need fewer stitches after the operation. Just three layers need to be stitched. Other doctors use between four and seven layers.

The women also suffer fewer complications and are able to get back to normal more quickly. It also no adverse effects on their future fertility.

Professor Joura said: "The women recover more quickly. They have reduced blood loss and less pain. They can also leave hospital earlier."

Professor Joura said feedback from patients had been overwhelmingly positive.

"I have had a number of patients who have had two Caesarean sections - the first using the traditional method and the second using the new method.

"It is usually more difficult to carry out a repeat Caesarean but we found that this new technique worked fine.

"But what has been really rewarding is that all of these women have said how much easier the second Caesarean was for them. They said it was much better than the first."

Good practise

Professor James Walker of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said many aspects of the technique were already practised by doctors in Britain.

"This is good practice. The majority of Caesarean sections are done in this way.

"The only difference appears to be the number of layers of stitching used in this technique. Using just three layers is controversial. There are concerns that this could cause problems in any future pregnancy," he told BBC News Online.

The college and the government are pressing for the number of Caesareans carried out in British hospitals to be reduced.

One in five births in Britain is now by Caesarean. This is despite the increased risks to mothers and babies and extra cost to the NHS.

The World Health Organization recommends that just one in 10 births is Caesarean.

The study is published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

See also:

15 Jul 02 | Health
21 May 01 | Health
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