A Pfannenstiel incision (Template:IPAEng) is a type of surgical incision that allows access to the abdomen. The surgeon cuts on a generally horizontal (slightly curved) line just above the pubic symphysis. This incision is commonly called the "bikini line incision". Some common reasons for this surgical access are obstetric delivery and hernia repair. It is often used in preference to other incision types for the sake of aesthetics, because the scar will be hidden by the pubic hair. This is of great advantage for women who like to expose their lower abdomen. The incision does not distort the belly button and heals faster than the traditional vertical incision.
Etymology of the name
Although Pfannenstiel means "panhandle" in German, the name of the Pfannenstiel incision does not derive from the incision's shape or location. It derives instead from the surname of a German gynecologist, Hermann Johannes Pfannenstiel (1862-1909).