Secondary Adhesions


Bowel adhesions are irregular bands of scar tissue that form between two structures that are normally not bound together. The bands of tissue can develop when the body is healing from any disturbance of the tissue that occurs secondary to surgery, infection, trauma, or radiation.

While the abdominal adhesions that form are a normal response to the injury of the peritoneal surface, they are the cause of significant morbidity including adhesive small bowel obstruction (ASBO), infertility in females, chronic abdominal pain, and create a difficult environment for future surgeries.

Adhesion-related disorder (ARD) is a group of symptoms that may occur as a result of adhesions. A person with ARD will usually experience chronic abdominal pain. Typical adhesions form within the first few days after surgery, but symptoms can last for months or even years. Symptoms may be mostly in one area of the abdomen, but are often generalized and difficult to define. This means ARD can be difficult to diagnose and symptoms include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Infertility
  • Bowel obstruction and an inability to pass gas
  • Urinary bladder dysfunction
  • Pain and difficulty having a bowel movement

Common treatments inculde

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