Using a Pico Dressing For a C-Section
When I gave birth to Bo I was no stranger to c-sections. He was my third section, my second elective. Before I went for surgery this time, a fellow mum told me about a new type of dressing she had had on her wound that had aided the healing called a pico dressing. It was something I had never heard of, and at the time she had her baby (4 months before me) the community midwife hadn’t actually seen one before. So I think it’s fair to say at the time they were pretty new. However, on her positive feedback when I went for my pre-op I discussed the option with my doctor.
What is a Pico Dressing?
A pico dressing is an adhesive dressing that comes with a battery pack that has a pump in it, which from my understanding dries out the wound, prevents infection and aids healing. I should state that when I originally discussed it with my doctor, he did say that my BMI wasn’t high enough, but as I had repeated infections after my last caesarean he would put one on. So my understanding is, at the time of my caesarean at least, that the dressing is only available to patients in certain circumstances.
The dressing itself was a really big adhesive dressing that entirely covered my c-section scar. To one side was a wire with a battery pack attached. When you’re walking about you need to tuck the battery pack into something so it doesn’t fall to the floor. In hospital when I was just in a gown, I used to tuck it into the side of my knickers, and when I got home the pocket of my trousers. The dressing stays on for 7 days, but to shower you can just unplug the battery pack and then reattach it when it’s dry.
The battery unit is sealed and you can’t get into it to change the batteries or anything. I was actually quite surprised as the midwife was a day late coming to remove the dressing due to a home birth emergency, that them whole pack just died after 7 days. And, when the midwife removed it, she disposed of the entire unit. I had just assumed the battery pack would be reused for another patients, but that’s not the case.
I did have some problems with the dressing in that I started to have an allergic reaction to the adhesive and it itched liked you wouldn’t believe. This was around day 5 and when I saw the midwife for a home visit, she asked me if I could bear with it for a couple more days for the sake of my healing. I did grin and bear it, but I found myself itching all around it and was totally desperate for it to be removed. To say it was a relief the day it came off would be an understatement!
How to Remove a Pico Dressing
My Midwife removed my pico dressing for me during a home visit. To remove it, she simply got me to lie down and she peeled it off. As it was so sticky I thought the removal would be painful, but it wasn’t at all. If you need to remove it yourself, I personally would ask someone else to help you, or alternatively do it in the shower.
After the dressing was removed, I was left with lots of black sticky marks on my skin as the adhesive was so strong. I removed this in the shower with an exfoliating sponge. As it was a surgical wound I used a brand new sponge to do this and then very carefully with a little soap, taking care not to actually exfoliate the incision itself, I rubbed it off. Again, I didn’t find this painful to do.
Did the Pico Dressing Prevent C Section Infection?
Did it work? After my second c-section I got both a bacterial and fungal infections on my scar. The fungal infection kept coming even months after the surgery, all it would take was a hot day. This time around, I’ve had nothing, the wound has healed the best I’ve ever healed before. I’ve had no infections, not even through the crazy hot temperatures of last summer, my scar looks really neat and clean. It’s healed so, so well. Actually I’m amazed how well it has healed and even the doctor commented on it during my post natal checks. So it is something I would definitely recommend.