Understanding the burden of surgical site complications post caesarean section

In the world of obstetrics surgery, the impact of surgical site complications (SSC) and surgical siteinfections (SSI) after a caesarean section cannot be overstated. These complications not only affectthe well-being of new mothers but also place a significant burden on our healthcare system1,2.

Did you know?

  • Superficial SSIs can lead to more serious consequences such as deep incisional infections,organ space infections and endometriosis3
  • The total cost to treat each infection is on average £3,716 per patient in a hospital setting2.
  • 1 in 10 mothers who suffer from infection3 can experience distressing consequences;Increased time in hospital may cause anxiety4, as the mother is unable to spend time withher new born, furthermore it can cause a cessation in her ability to breast feed and build amaternal bond5.

Meet Tessa, a mother who experienced the challenges of a surgical site infection (SSI) after her first caesarean section. Her profound story sheds light on the impact an SSI can have on a mother's bonding experience and the significant difference that single-use Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) made on her second caesarean birth, highlighting the importance of prevention and care.

Tessa’s inspiring journey showcases the real power of single-use NPWT in supporting a positive birth experience. Watch the video below to follow her story.

Identifying at-risk patients: a crucial step in prevention

To provide the highest level of care to patients undergoing caesarean sections, a proactive approachis essential to identify those at risk of surgical site complications/infections. This assessment is notmerely a step in the process; it's a vital preventive action that can make all the difference in patientoutcomes.

Why Accurate Risk Assessment Matters:

  • Timely Intervention: Identifying at-risk patients allows for timely intervention andpreventive measures6.
  • Customized Care: Tailoring care to a patient's risk profile ensures a personalised approach6.
  • Better Outcomes: Accurate assessment may reduce the likelihood of SSC, contributing tobetter patient outcomes and satisfaction6.

Empower your surgical team with the tools and knowledge needed to make informed decisions and help protect patients from the burden of SSC/SSI.


Download our risk stratification tool (Pdf) Learn how to implement

A new standard of C-section incision care

If around 36% of deliveries in England are C-sections7 and data suggests 10% of patients with aBMI≥30 will develop a SSI3 (up to 19.3% for BMI≥35 8), calculate how many bed days, nursing hoursand resources are being used…not to mention the physical and emotional impact on new parents.

What if you added PICO sNPWT to standard post-operative incision care?

PICO Single Use Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System has shown to help reduce the risk ofsurgical site infection (SSI) and length of hospital stay for high-risk C-section patients*8-10

  • Reduce the relative risk of SSIs by 50%, compared to standard dressings, for patients withpre-pregnancy BMI≥30**9
  • Estimated per-patient cost savings for patients with a pre-pregnancy BMI≥30 (£40.21) andBMI≥35 (£288.48), compared to standard care**8
  • Supported by NICE guidelines to help reduce SSIs in high-risk patients with closed surgicalincisions11


Curious about the impact that the PICO Single-Use Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (sNPWT)system could potentially have on your patients' recovery journeys? In this section, we invite you towatch our MOA (Mechanism of Action) video.

Click here to access more resources Find out why NICE supports the use of PICO sNPWT

Want to know more?

Get in touch with us. We're here to help.

For more information on surgical site complications post-caesarean section and the impact it may pose to your department, simply fill out the form below. Our team is here to provide you with the support and information you need to identifying patients at-risk of developing SSC.

Disclamers and citations

*Compared to conventional dressings/standard care.
**Open-label, pragmatic, randomised study. PICO sNPWT (n=432) vs standard dressings (n=444),p=0.007.


For detailed product information, including indications for use, contraindications, precautions andwarnings, please consult the product’s applicable Instructions for Use (IFU) prior to use.



  1. Bullough L, Burns S, Timmons J, Truman P, Megginson S. Reducing c-section woundcomplications. The Clinical Services Journal. 2015:2-6.
  2. Jenks P, Laurent M, et al. Clinical and economic burden of surgical site infections (SSI) andpredicted financial consequences of elimination of SSI from an English hospital. J HospInfect.2014;86(1):24-33.
  3. Wloch C et al. Risk factors for surgical infections following C-section. BJOG.2012;119(11):1324-33
  4. Bullough L and Wilkinson D. Changing wound care protocols to reduce post-operativecaesarean section complications. Presented at Wounds UK, Harrogate, 2012
  5. Hoff CE, Movva N, Rosen Vollmar AK, Pérez-Escamilla R. Impact of Maternal Anxiety onBreastfeeding Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Adv Nutr. 2019 Sep 1;10(5):816-826. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy132. PMID: 31079143; PMCID: PMC6743815.
  6. NHS England, 2023. Earlier screening, risk assessment and health optimisation inperioperative pathways: guide for providers and integrated care boards. Available at:https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/earlier-screening-risk-assessment-and-healthoptimisation-in-perioperative-pathways/ [Last accessed: Sept 2023]
  7. NHS Maternity Statistics, 2021-22: HES Provider Level Analysis. Available at:https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-maternitystatistics/2021-22 [Last accessed: Aug 2023]
  8. Hyldig N, Joergensen JS, Wu C, et al. Cost-effectiveness of incisional negative pressure wound therapy compared with standard care after caesarean section in obese women: a trial-based economic evaluation. BJOG. 2019;126(5):619-627.
  9. Hyldig N, Vinter CA, Kruse M, et al. Prophylactic incisional negative pressure wound therapy reduces the risk of surgical site infection after caesarean section in obese women: A pragmatic randomised clinical trial. BJOG. 2019;126:628-635.
  10. Saunders C, et al. A single use negative pressure system reduces surgical site complicationscompared with conventional dressings in closed surgical incisions: a systematic literaturereview with meta-analysis. Poster presented at the European Wound ManagementAssociation annual meeting, June 5-7, 2019, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  11. NICE (2019) PICO negative pressure wound dressings for closed surgical incisions [online]accessible from: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/mtg43. [Last accessed: Sept 2023]