Re: surgery vs no surgery

From: Helen Dynda (
Fri Feb 11 11:34:36 2000

Thanks for sharing, Tina! I agree with you totally!! It is really unfortunate that you had to undergo so many surgeries before realizing that surgery was not helping you.

Now that you have decided to take charge of your adhesion problem. Would you be willing to share what your pain management program consists of? Professionals? Medications? Anything that has been especially helpful for you?

As for me I have had 3 surgeries: laparotomy in 1970, vaginal hysterectomy in 1972, and the diagnostic laparoscopy in 1997 which finally proved that massive adhesions were the cause of my chronic pain.

Since my 1970 laparotomy and my January 1998 appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, I really thought that another surgery would allow me to be pain-free again.

I went to my January 1998 appointment armed with all of the information I had learned on the Internet about adhesions and adhesion barriers.

With the help of Dr. Wiseman I was able to talk to someone at Genzyme (makers of Seprafilm)in December 1997. I told him that I had an appointment at the Mayo Clinic; but I wanted to know if it would be possible for me to be a clinical trial participant for their gel adhesion barrier.

Unfortunately, because of my age, he told me that I would not qualify. But then he told me that Genzyme had sponsored a symposium in Philadelphia to present their product to surgeons throughout the nation. He mentioned to me that one surgeon from the Mayo Clinic had attended that symposium - and he told me the name of the surgeon.

So now I knew about adhesions, adhesion barriers, and a surgeon at the Mayo Clinic. I went to my January 1998 appointment fully confident that this was going to be the end of my chronic pain!

After all of the diagnosic tests were completed and after I met with my internist to learn the results of all of my tests, I finally met this surgeon. After he was familiarized with my current health situation (All tests were normal!), he told me that chronic pelvic pain is not a justifiable reason for surgery.

Before he would operate on a person who has been diagnosed (A diagnostic laparoscopy is the only test!) with adhesions, this person would have to be suffering from a severe bowel obstruction - which, of course, is an emergency.

He also told me that he *does not* use an adhesion barrier (not even Seprafilm) at the end of a surgical procedure. He said that he is not satisfied with the use of either Seprafilm or Interceed.

1.) Neither product is 100% effective.

2.) There must not be any blood in the abdominal/pelvic cavity for Interceed to be effective. Any blood left in the cavity can be a source of infection for the patient.

3.) Seprafilm is very difficult for the surgeon use. Seprafilm is not only very brittle; but as the surgeon tries to apply Seprafilm, it becomes sticky and tends to stick to the surgeon's gloves.

4.) The possibility of infection or rejection can be a problem with the current adhesion barriers.

5.) Neither adhesion barrier has been approved by the FDA for laparoscopic surgery. The FDA has given their approval for laparotomy use only.

Needless to say, I was very downhearted that once again - I was not able to find a way to become pain-free. This was my 6th time at the Mayo Clinic in 28 years!!

It was this surgeon at the Mayo Clinic who finally convinced me that SURGERY IS NOT THE ANSWER for the chronic pain of adhesions. I have resigned myself to accepting Pain Management and doing what I can to help me help myself. I have previously mentioned on the Adhesions Forum that I am getting professional help.

I feel truly blessed in that I was never able to convince any doctor, of the many doctors I have seen, to the point where the doctor would suggest surgery as an answer. Since I was able to avoid multiple surgeries, my adhesion problem is not as severe as that of so many Adhesion Forum participants.

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