Current approach to episiotomy: Inevitable or unnecessary?

  • Nebojsa S. Jovanovic
  • Dusica M. Kocijancic
  • Milan M. Terzic
Review Article


An episiotomy is a surgical incision through the perineum made to provide sufficient area for the delivery of the infant. About 10 to 95% of women who deliver will have episiotomy depending on which part of the world they are having delivery.

Too early episiotomy causes extensive bleeding and too late episiotomy causes the excessive stretching of a pelvic floor and lacerations could not be prevented.

According to widely accepted arguments, there are many benefits of episiotomy for the neonate: prevention of injuries, shoulder dystocia and mental retardation of the infant. Benefits for the mother are: reduction of severe lacerations, prevention of sexual dysfunction, prevention of urinary and fecal incontinence. But those things could also be complications of episiotomy, if it is being used nonrestrictively. Some other complications are also extensive bleeding, hematoma or infection.

There are many different opinions in literature about using episiotomy restrictively or routinely, so it is the right doubt arisen: is it inevitable or unnecessary?

There is a wide variation in episiotomy practice, and the decision of performing it or not depends of actual clinical situation.

There is still a great need for continuous obstetrics education according to the evidence based guidelines for the patient’s safety.


Episiotomy Controversy Risks Benefits Complications 


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Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nebojsa S. Jovanovic
    • 1
  • Dusica M. Kocijancic
    • 1
  • Milan M. Terzic
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Center of SerbiaInstitute of Obstetrics and GynecologyBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

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