The French AmbUlatory Cesarean Section (FAUCS) often referred to as a “French C-section,” is a new technique that promises a quicker recovery when compared to the standard C-section. Cesarean sections are traditionally accompanied by an increased occurrence of post-surgical complications and post-operative pain. It can take at least six weeks (and often a lot longer) for the patient to return to their daily activities. It’s also a very expensive way of delivery when compared to vaginal delivery. FAUCS promises to change much of that.
Of the 3441 procedures performed by six doctors in France between 1997 and 2017, 544 cases (16,28%) could be discharged within 24 hours – a figure pretty much unheard of when considering standard C-sections. In an analysis published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Clinical Practices it notes that “the FAUCS method was shown to significantly improves patients’ postoperative comfort providing them almost immediately with their autonomy, thus reducing morbidity and shortening the time of hospital stay.”
Developed in, you guessed it, France, the French C-section is currently only performed by a very select group of physicians who opted for the intensive training needed to do this complicated, but very safe surgery. It’s most common in France, but you can also find physicians in Poland, Vienna and Israel where Dr. Israel Hendler is currently leading the charge to make this method more accessible. In fact, he was scheduled to fly to Houston, Texas in 2020 to bring the method to the U.S.A. before coronavirus threw a wrench in the plan.
“This technique of C-section is amazing,” says Dr. Hendler. “It’s really the future and I feel that it is my duty to teach it and bring it to countries around the world.” While it can be done – with some exceptions – in emergency situations, most French C-sections are planned because of how few doctors are trained in the method. Dr. Hendler notes that most of the women who come to him have had a traumatic past birth (think third or fourth degree tears), they have had past C-sections (some as many as six or seven) or know, for one reason or another, that they will need a C-section. “After the French C-section these women feel like they have overcome their trauma – there are hundreds of stories of women discussing how amazing their experience was.”
While it’s a more difficult technique surgically and requires more hands on deck, it’s just as safe – and some say safer – than a traditional C-section. The real difference is the recovery time. “This surgery puts the mother at the center, not the doctor,” says Dr. Hendler. “There is less cutting of tissue, especially the connective tissue so there is less damage to the abdominal wall – the incision in the tissue surrounding the abdominal muscles is longitudinal, not lateral. The entire surgery is a much more delicate procedure. Women can typically stand up, walk and take care of themselves and their child after three hours and after 24 hours they are off pain killers.” As for when they can return to regular activity, Dr. Hendler says that it takes about the same time as after a good vaginal birth.
Unfortunately, Dr. Hendler does not see the French C-section going mainstream. ” C-sections are typically performed by residents, while the French C-section requires a specialized physician. Most doctors do not care enough to put in the time and emotional energy to learn when the mainstream version has been done safely for years.”
To learn more about this technique and some of the doctors that perform it (currently only about a dozen spread across the globe) click here.