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C SAFE device may reduce birth injuries during C-sections

Cesarean sections are among the most common operations in Illinois and around the country as more and more births are conducted using this surgery. One estimate says that up to one-third of births are now done by C-section. While C-sections are sometimes necessary, in many cases the surgeon causes harm to the mother or the child. These birth injuries can be life-altering, possibly leaving children dependent on their parents for life.

One common source of birth injuries is when the surgeon performing the C-section nicks the infant with a scalpel. Possible harm ranges from cuts to amputations. The cuts can cause permanent scars, which, while not life-threatening, can affect children’s quality of life.

A new surgical device hopes to reduce the risk of infant laceration during cesarean section surgery. The device is called C SAFE and it attempts to keep the scalpel blade away from the infant. It works by using a blunt piece of plastic to make the initial incision and, once inside the mother’s body, uses a blade that faces away from the uterus. A doctor from the company that developed the C SAFE said that the device ensures that the edge of the scalpel never comes in contact with the child.

The company expects that C SAFE will be widely available to hospitals by the end of 2013. One obstetrician who admitted to cutting a baby during at least one C-section is looking forward to using it. She said that even a minor surgical error of this type causes her to lose her confidence in future operations. The issue is also personal for her; the obstetrician’s daughter suffered a nick during her own C-section.

Source: KYW-TV, “Health: New Way To Reduce Risk Of Injuries At Birth,” Stephanie Stahl, June 26, 2013


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