What You Need to Know About Abdominal Adhesiolysis Surgery to Remove Adhesions

What You Need to Know About Abdominal Adhesiolysis Surgery to Remove Adhesions

Abdominal adhesions are painful conditions which cause discomfort when walking or sitting down. They are caused by tightness of muscles around the abdomen. These tight muscles may have several causes such as:


Diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar)

High cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol level)

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

The most common type of adhesions is called “superficial” adhesions. Superficial adhesions are caused by obesity and diabetes mellitus. They usually do not affect your daily life activities. However, they can lead to complications if left untreated.

There are various surgical procedures available to remove superficial adhesions.

In some cases, there is no treatment option other than surgery. If you suffer from these types of adhesions, it would be best to consult with a doctor before undergoing any procedure so that you get the right care at the right time.

The Different Types of Abdominal Adhesions

There are three types of abdominal adhesions:

Adhesions within the abdomen (intraperitoneal). These can be caused by appendicitis, Crohn’s disease, an infection, or a disease of the bowel. They are also linked to major pelvic surgery such as a hysterectomy or a prostatectomy.

Adhesions outside the abdomen (extraperitoneal). These are the most common type of adhesions. They are usually caused by trauma, infection, or surgery.

Diaphragmatic adhesions. These are caused by an infection in the abdomen. They can cause breathing problems because they restrict the movement of the diaphragm.

It is important to note that adhesions can cause complications which may require other medical or surgical procedures. They are also linked to infertility in both men and women. It is very important to address the issue before trying to become pregnant.

Symptoms of Abdominal Adhesions

Abdominal adhesions cause pain and changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation. They can also lead to intestinal obstruction and vomiting of stomach contents (regurgitation). In some cases, adhesions may also cause internal hernias.

Adhesions are difficult to diagnose and they cannot be identified with a regular physical examination. However, your doctor will perform a physical assessment and ask you some questions about your medical history.

Some of the things your doctor will ask you include:

When did you first experience symptoms?

What are your bowel habits like?

Do you suffer from pain? If so, where is it and how would you describe it?

Do you suffer from nausea or vomiting?

Are you experiencing constipation or diarrhea?

Have you had any previous surgeries or medical procedures? If so, were there any complications?

Do you have a family history of any of the above conditions or complications?

Why Do People Develop Abdominal Adhesions?

It is not clear why some people with a history of abdominal surgeries develop adhesions while others do not. Some experts believe that adhesions form as a natural part of the healing process.

Other studies suggest that the use of staples during surgery may be one of the reasons why some people develop adhesions. It is believed that the formation of adhesions and fibrosis (the replacement of normal tissue with a dense connective tissue) may be due to an inflammatory or immune response.

Other risk factors for abdominal adhesions may include diabetes, obesity, endometriosis, previous pelvic inflammatory disease, and a history of infertility.

How Are Abdominal Adhesions Diagnosed?

There is no single diagnostic test for adhesions; instead, your doctor will use a combination of medical history and physical tests to reach a diagnosis.

Sources & references used in this article:

Reduction in postoperative adhesion formation and re-formation after an abdominal operation with the use of N, O-carboxymethyl chitosan by J Zhou, C Elson, TDG Lee – Surgery, 2004 – Elsevier

Abdominal adhesiolysis: inpatient care and expenditures in the United States in 1994 by NF Ray, WG Denton, SC Henderson… – … College of Surgeons, 1998 – Elsevier

Intra-abdominal adhesion prevention: are we getting any closer? by JM Becker, AF Stucchi – Annals of surgery, 2004 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Adhesion-related hospital readmissions after abdominal and pelvic surgery: a retrospective cohort study by H Ellis, BJ Moran, JN Thompson, MC Parker… – The Lancet, 1999 – Elsevier

An evaluation of laparoscopic adhesiolysis in patients with chronic abdominal pain by MD Mueller, J Tschudi, U Herrmann, CH Klaiber – Surgical endoscopy, 1995 – Springer

Adhesions in patients with chronic pelvic pain: a role for adhesiolysis? by A Hammoud, LA Gago, MP Diamond – Fertility and sterility, 2004 – Elsevier

Burden of adhesions in abdominal and pelvic surgery: systematic review and met-analysis by RPG Ten Broek, Y Issa, EJP van Santbrink, ND Bouvy… – Bmj, 2013 – bmj.com