Re: DR. Reich Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center New York

From: Beverly J. Doucette (
Tue Jun 8 10:38:04 1999

Dear Friends I am sharing my experience of surgery performed under Dr. Harry reich of New York as a number of you asked about it in greater detail Please keep in mind that this is MY surgery and that each one of us has a case history unique to each of us. I also am stating MY interpretation of how the body responds to and creates adhesions as I understand that physiological proccess.

Previous to consenting to Dr. Reich's adhesional lysis procedure, I requested a copy of it so that I could determine for myself what was being done differently then other adhesional lysis I had. I also checked out his credentials with the AMA, all very outstanding recommendations. I then asked for statistics of the surgery, and even though he has not keep a following of his patience, he does have some figures on it and it looked to be the higher % of success for non reforming adhseions with his procedure. I also was put in contact with a woman who had undergone his lysis last June. We talked at great length ( e-mail ) and we continue to do so. She was a wealth of information and encouragement for me...and you can be assured that I am watching her case closely as it parellels my adhesional history very close. Dr. Reich also video tapes his entire surgery for you.

Dr. Riechs theory to non reforming adhesions is: " The solution to polution is dilution! " And he stands by that phrase yet today.

This procedure is done through minimally invasive route. One small incision in the naval for camera, two 1" - 2" incions on each side of the lower abdoman for instrument use. Dr. Reich is the only ambidextrious surgeon in the United States and that is a plus for us! He does a diagnostic look around upon entering the cavity. Looks for any invasive pathology aside of adhesions. Evaluates the situation and then determines his plan of treatment. In the event that there are dense adhesions, he proceeds to dissect them ( seperate. ) This isnot an easy process and very involved. I can understand why most DR's do NOt want to challenge themselves during a lysis, dangerious and tedious as you are working right up against and around the intestines etc....based on Dr. Reichs vaste experience with laporscopic surgery's, he has developed a technique like no other surgeon in the world! That is why he has the reputation as the best laporoscopic surgeon in the world! It was the clean up at the end of his surgery that impressed me the most and was also the reason that I chose to go to him and have this done! He cleans out almost EVERY peice of clotted blod that is in, around, under and virtually all over in the cavity following the surgery! He feels that it is this residuel clotted blood that the anti-bodies in an adhesion formers system respond to as a " foreign "y and thus creates an adhesion over it to protect the internal organs! Now, this is exactly how our bodies defense sysytem works! Think about you getting a sliver ( externally of course ) What does our bodies defense sysytem do to that foreign body? Sends out the luekocytes and creates and " infection " to get rid of it, right? Internally, one of two types of defense systems kick in when there is a problem, 1) if an appendix ruptures, we get peritonitis ( an internal infection like pus or white blood cells that spill into the cavity, those white cells are responding to an inflamation in the appendix and built up and burst, but it WAS a defense mechanism as well ) That can kill us as the body has no way to rid itself of that infectious drainag and it infects the surrounding internal organs as well. In defense our body sends the luekocytes ( white cells ) to that area of " infectious drainage " 2) Because there is an active infectiouse foreign body in the cavity, our bodiy will atepmt to " CONTAIN " that poison to protect the other internal organs from damage! These white cells form a material called," fibrin," ( it is that sticky stuff in blood by the way ) this fibrin starts to cover the infectious material and you have what is called an " ADHESION!" Now, adhesion stick together. And in a cavity filled with lots of organs in very close proximity of one another, what do you think will happen? Organs get attatched to one another...everywhere that the drainage touched! Lets look at that same reaction now using the clotted residual blood following your internal surgery. Blood is found througout the cavity from any area of surgery or ischemia ( areas scrapped or cut opening an area that bleeds ) In the cavity, this blood dries very fast...VERY! Now, 99.9% of surgeons DO NOT clean up the residual blood clots thus leaving that in, around and under your internal organs. Your body see this blood as a foriegn body and sends out the luekocytes and thus forms adhesions wherever these clots are. Because fibrin is sticky, these organs become attatched. With the peritoneum ( innermost tissue of the abdominal wall,) some organs become attatched to it, thus causing the pulling and inflamation at the attachment sites...thus PAIN, and eventually a decrease in our physical mobility. That pain is from the attatchment to the peritoneum. The other attatchment's, if any, ( organ to organ ) doesn't cause us pain, but it can cause bowel obstructions, painfull and difficult bowel movements and if some adhesions attatch the bowel to the vaginal wall, painful intercourse as well. Am I losing you? If I am, please let me know and I will be less medical. ( I sense that you are perfectly capable of understanding every word of this! ) Dr. Reich uses a procedure called " aqua " surgery. He is constantly flushing the cavity with ringers lactate ( a type of compatible fluid to the human body, like saline ) and finds the fibrin stings and removes them! Bit by bit...wonderfull cleanup job, on my video, if someone would have told me he could clean up that cavity as good as he did and I had NOT seen him do it, I wouldn't believe them! So, if you want a copy of my video, I'll send it to you! His theory is that if the cavity is cleaned of the clotted blood, the body's defense system wil have less to react to thus reducing and possibly stopping reformation of PAINFULL and distructive adhesions. He also leaves 3-4 liters of ringers in the abdoman following his surgery. Takes about 48 hours to dissipate out of the body. ( Lots of peaing goes on..:-) ) I was not shaved, no urinary cathiter in place or gastric nasal tube when i woke in recovery. 5 hours of surgery and I was back in our suite in less then 4 hoursfollwing recovery room. Sure, I had surgery pain. but I also had both ovary's removed and two tumors! Surprise the Dr.! One very large and had attatched the right side of my colon to the left side of my peritoneum...colon was totally twisted over and wonder I hurt and couldn't have a BM on my own! How am I now, a tiny bit sore on the lower right, but that is from an organ removal...NO ADHESION PAIN, NO BACK ACHES, NO PAIN PILLS and a smile on my face that only a crow bar could remove! I had been on pain medication, anti-inflamitory's ( which you need to be on at LEAST 1500 MGS of a day if you are suffering adhesion pain, that is to combat the inflamation from the pulling of the organ attatchment site, you can bet you have something attatched to the peritoneum at this time and it is pulling and doesnt like that! ) anti- acids ( from irritation of the esophogus and stomach from years of drugs, slepp/pain meds at night and last but not least...laxatives! ( and you know what that was for! ) NO MORE....I take a 500 MG chewy for calcium and Vit. E for heart muscle as I refuse to go on hormone replacement untill I present with symptoms...and I have not yet!

Dr. Riech will state that his procedure is NOT a sure thing, but statistically, his lysis patients have shown a great reduction in reforming adhesions following his lysis. I discussed Dr. Reichs procedure with a local surgeon as well as a pathologist who our son works with, before I agreed to have it done. I also sent them my post operative reports that defined the locations of previuosly lysed adhesions in both my abdoman and pelvic cavity. During a routine autopsy, they instilled 3-4 liters of ringers lactate to raise the abdominal wall away from the intestines to determine if in fact an adhesion could reform and REACH the abdominal wall to attatch itself from the intestine when there is that much ringers in the cavity. ( that type of attatchment was the ONLY cause of my pain and when organ attatchment involves the peritoneum you have pain! I had that in both previous lysis.) It did raise the abdominal wall a good 3-4" and in all probability, an adhesion would NOT be able to attatch.

In the event you are interested in contacting Dr. reich, let me know and I will assist with that as well. I also can give some pretty fresh ideas in planning a trip to New York. ( without getting hit by a street selling someone I know did! )

I hope this synopsis provides you with the information you asked me for. If there is anything else I can do for you, please feel free to e-mail me at: Please educate yourselves to all that you can about adhesion disorder and then call for a SIT DOWN consultation with your DR. to discuss all area of adhesion disorder. take him informatuon from Dr. Wiseman, the woman surgical group and even from the International Pelvic Pain Society under the direction of Dr. Perry. Many times the DR. is as scared and frustrated as we are as what to do for you! Also re evaluate your MUST be atking an analgesic ( pain med ) on a constistent basis for it to be effective in your system to combat the pain. It is also imparative you have an anti-inflamitory. As for an MRI, Cat Scan or any other high tech medical test for a person with a history of adhesions, I feel it is a waste of money and time. A simple ultra sound and abdominal x-ray will detect any abnormal pathology in the abdoman. If you feel that you are sufferring from the same type of pain in the same region as with your previous adhesion problem, then you sure don't need anymore tests if an ultra sound proves negative! Evrything else will too and your DR. STiLL cannot diagnose your adhesions as the cause of your pain unless a diagnostic paoroscopic surgery is performed. Your Dr. cannot say that your pain is caused by your adhesions untill he sees them, but you can pretty much be assured the apin is from your adhesions if you had that before and if your tests show can say it is your adhesions and not have to worry about getting sued...your DR. can't! He sure might think it is from them, but he really, really cannot say it untill proven! long as all medical tests rule out abnormal DO have CHRONIC PELVIC PAIN and that IS recognized as a medical get on a pain management routine and take it from there! A DR. HAS TOO respond to your request for that! There is also NOT any other effetive pain management for message( the adhesions are located to deep within the cavity for " breaking down etc..) and no type of linamints or balms will reach, nor can they penetrate the peritoneum as that tissue is there to PROTECT against invasion os things....that IS OUR problem to begin with! ) so please be carefull folks with paying out bucks for things that sound good...but WILL not work on the adhesions! Relaxation, messages and such WILL help relax the adhesion sufferer and there is something to be said for treating theemitional as well as the pschological self ..... in fact it is imparative to do that! And therepy for the family, education and ideas as to how to live with one who is sufferring this very painfull and debilitating disorder. The impact that " Adhesion Disorder " places on a family is no different then a diagnosis of cancer, Muscular Distophy, Multiple Sclerosis or any other debilitating disorder....only ourdisorder is just begginning to be focused on...and how much focus it gets is up to each one of learn about it, educate your DR.'s...don't be afraid of it as it can be effectivly lived with...and there is HOPE..!

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