An episiotomy is a surgical incision made in the area between the vagina and anus (perineum). This is done during the last stages of labor and delivery to expand the opening of the vagina to prevent tearing during the delivery of the baby.
The incision, which can be done at a 90 degree angle from the vulva towards the anus or at an angle from the posterior end of the vulva (medio-lateral episiotomy), is performed under local anesthetic (pudendal anesthesia), and is sutured after delivery.
Episiotomy is done in an effort to prevent against soft-tissue tearing which may involve the anal sphincter and rectum. Vaginal tears can occur during childbirth, most often at the vaginal opening as the baby’s head passes through, especially if the baby descends quickly. Tears can involve the perineal skin or extend to the muscles and the anal sphincter and anus. The midwife or obstetrician may decide to make a surgical cut to the perineum with scissors or a scalpel to make the baby’s birth easier and prevent severe tears that can be difficult to repair. The cut is repaired with stitches (sutures).
Episiotomy. (2016, September 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:57, September 24, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Episiotomy&oldid=741002077