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by Shannon DW
(Cutting Adhesions; Adhesiolysis)

Definition

This surgery cuts away adhesions from within the body. Adhesions are scar tissues that often form in the abdomen or pelvis after surgery as part of the normal healing process. They can also form in the joints or eyes.

Adhesions can also happen after an infection or problems, such as:

Laparoscopic Surgery for Bowel Adhesions
Abdominal Adhesion
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Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done to remove adhesions that are causing problems, such as:

  • Pain
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Infertility
  • Limited range of motion

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Harm to nearby structures, such as organs or joints
  • More adhesions
  • Hernia

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking excess alcohol
  • Chronic disease, such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for a ride to and from surgery

Anesthesia

The doctor may give general anesthesia. You will be asleep.

Description of the Procedure

This surgery is usually done laparoscopically . This type of surgery uses small cuts. It may lower the risk of problems and speed healing.

Abdominal Adhesions

Small cuts will be made in the belly. Gas will be used to expand the belly and make it easier to view inside. A scope with a light and camera will be placed through a cut. Pictures will be sent to a nearby screen. The adhesions will be cut using small tools inserted through the cuts. The cuts will be closed with stitches or staples. Bandages will be placed over them.

In some people, the doctor may need to switch to open surgery. A larger cut will be made in the belly. The adhesions will be cut. The cut will be closed with stitches or staples. A bandage will be placed over it.

Joint Adhesions

Small cuts will be made in the skin around the joint. A scope and tools will be inserted through the cuts. The adhesions will be cut using small tools inserted through the cuts. The cuts will be closed with stitches or staples. Bandages will be placed over them.

How Long Will It Take?

1 to 3 hours

Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and swelling are common in the first few weeks. Medicine and home care can help.

Average Hospital Stay

The usual length of stay is 1 to 3 days. It depends on how the surgery was done. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

After the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicines.

During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your cuts covered

There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
  • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not letting others touch your cuts
At Home

It will take a few weeks to fully heal. Physical activity may be limited during this time. You may need to delay your return to work.

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, a lot of bleeding, or discharge from the cut
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Lasting nausea or vomiting
  • Stool that is black or has blood in it
  • Problems passing urine or stool
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

If you think you are having an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  https://www.acog.org 

American College of Surgeons  https://www.facs.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada  https://www.sogc.org 

References

Abdominal adhesions. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15254-abdominal-adhesions. Accessed April 5, 2022.

Abdominal adhesions. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/abdominal-adhesions. Accessed April 5, 2022.

Adhesion. Mount Sinai website. Available at: http://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/adhesion. Accessed April 5, 2022.

Revision Information