Abdominal adhesions

If you have not heard about abdominal adhesions, they are scar tissues that develop in between the abdominal tissues and organs. Generally, the organs and tissues have slippery or smooth surfaces that enable them to move or slide around easily within the body. Once an individual ends up with abdominal adhesions, the organs and tissues stick to one another.

Signs and symptoms of abdominal adhesions

In most cases, there are no evident signs and symptoms. On the other hand, the symptoms of abdominal adhesions include the following:

  • Small bowel blockage or obstruction (most common indication)
  • Abdominal pain or pelvis pain that is persistent

What are the causes?

The typical cause of abdominal adhesions is surgery of the abdominal area. The surgery-linked causes of the adhesions include the following:

Abdominal adhesion

Abdominal pain or pelvis pain that is persistent

  • Handling of the internal organs
  • Cutting or slicing of the tissues especially the bowel

In rare circumstances, there is no cause linked with the development of abdominal adhesions.

Who are at risk?

The abdominal adhesions typically occur in almost all types of surgeries in the abdominal area.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Even today, there are no tests available to properly diagnose abdominal adhesions. They could not be seen with imaging techniques such as ultrasound or X-rays. Most cases are discovered during surgery.

Treatment is not usually required since most adhesions do not trigger any issues. Take note that surgery is the only available form of treatment that involves breaking down the adhesions that cause the pain and obstruction.

What are the possible complications?

When it comes to surgical procedures, there is always the risk for more adhesions to develop and must be avoided as much as possible.

Luckily, the prognosis with this condition is usually good in most circumstances.


It can be difficult to prevent abdominal adhesions, but the manner in which a surgical procedure is performed can minimize the risk.

During a laparoscopic surgery, the abdomen is inflated with gas while specialized tools and a video camera are inserted within a few small-sized cuts in the abdomen. The inflation of the abdomen allows the surgeon to operate. In some circumstances, this approach can reduce the risk for adhesions. On the other hand, the laparoscopic technique is not always possible.

In addition, a specialized film-like material that looks similar to wax paper is utilized when the doctor needs to create a big incision in the abdominal area. This is positioned in between the organs and the incision at the end of the procedure. In a week, the material is eventually absorbed by the body. Oftentimes, this can help reduce the development of adhesions.


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