Adhesion Symptoms and Treatment Options

If you have had surgery, infection, trauma, or cancer treatments you may be suffering with adhesions.   While adhesions are typically asymptomatic, they can cause pain, intestinal issues, cramping, bloating vomiting, pain with intercourse or even bowel obstruction.  Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that bind organs and tissues together and can negatively impact quality of life or cause chronic symptoms, surgery may be necessary.

If your symptoms are intense and non-surgical options are not effective for managing symptoms, surgery may be necessary to remove the existing adhesions and free the organs and tissues involved.

Adhesiolysis is the procedure to cut and release adhesions. It can be done with a laparoscopy or during a laparotomy, though the less invasive the surgery is, the less risk there may be for the formation of new adhesions. Unfortunately, surgery to remove adhesions can allow for the formation of new adhesions, so it is important to work with a knowledgeable and skilled surgeon when seeking surgical treatment for adhesions. Knowledgeable surgeons can use special techniques, tools, and/or adhesion barriers to try to prevent the formation of new adhesions. Your surgeon may also give you special recovery instructions to try to minimize the formation of adhesions during the healing process.

Recovery from adhesiolysis will depend on a number of factors such as how the surgery was done, extensiveness of the surgery, and the organs involved. A laparoscopic procedure done by a skilled surgeon may allow you to have an outpatient procedure and return to normal activity within 1–2 weeks.

Risks of adhesiolysis can include the formation of new adhesions, injury to underlying structures, infection, and bleeding issues. In addition, reactions to anesthesia or medications may occur.

Before deciding to undergo adhesioloysis, it can be beneficial to seek a second opinion and carefully weigh all of your pros and cons. Surgery to treat adhesions can result in new adhesions and repeat surgeries, so when possible, alternatives for managing symptoms may be advisable.

Browse through the HysterSisters Separate Surgeries Articles for information and resources about surgeries related to GYN health beyond hysterectomy.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.  Reprinted with permission: Adhesion Surgery (Adhesiolysis)

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