Pelvic Adhesions

From: Helen Dynda (
Fri Mar 2 10:51:52 2001

[] Pelvic Adhesions

1.) What are Pelvic Adhesions? Pelvic adhesions are bands of fibrous scar tissue that can form in the abdomen and pelvis after surgery. Because adhesions connect organs and tissue that normally are separated, they can lead to a variety of complications including pelvic pain, infertility and bowel obstruction.

2.) Why do Pelvic Adhesions Form ? Pelvic adhesions can form for many reasons including:

Trauma - Trauma is frequently a major contributor to adhesion formation. Adhesions that form after surgery result from the body's normal healing process.

Ischemia - Blood flow is disrupted during surgery by cutting, cauterization, suture placement among other methods. This lack of blood flow can produce ischemia and cause tissue damage. Adhesions may form as a result.

Foreign bodies - Foreign bodies such as suture material, lint from surgical sponges, or talc from surgical gloves can cause an inflammatory reaction in the body and the formation of adhesions.

Hemorrhage - Blood in the operating field in combination with the raw tissue surfaces that are exposed during surgery can enhance formation of adhesions.

Infection - Infection from a variety of sources including endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease can cause inflammation and adhesion formation.

Sites for Adhesion Formation: Adhesions can form on any surface in the pelvis or abdomen but they are more likely to form on some organs than on others. Common sites for adhesion formation are the ovaries, pelvic side walls and fallopian tubes.

3.) How Can Adhesion Formation be Prevented ? Methods that can prevent or reduce adhesion formation include:

Microsurgical techniques - New surgical techniques that minimize trauma, ischemia, foreign bodies, hemorrhage, raw tissue surfaces and infection can reduce adhesion formation.

Drugs - The ability of various drugs to reduce post-operative adhesion formation has been evaluated, though no well-controlled study has demonstrated the efficacy of any of them.

Barrier methods - One of the most promising methods of preventing adhesions due to surgery involves placement of a mechanical barrier between raw tissue surfaces. The barrier separates the tissue surfaces and prevents them from sticking to each other.

Safe sex practices - Can reduce the incidence of adhesion formation caused by inflammation resulting from sexually transmitted diseases.

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