Pelvic adhesions are abnormal bands of scar tissue that form after gynecological surgeries, like C-sections, and bind organs that are usually not connected.
Most patients develop adhesions after pelvic surgery.1
All of the abdominal and pelvic organs, except the ovaries, are at least partially wrapped in a clear membrane called the peritoneum (per-i-toe-nee-um). When the peritoneum is damaged during surgery, it becomes inflamed. Inflammation is normal and part of the healing process, but inflammation also encourages fibrous bands of scar tissue to develop.
Usually, this scar tissue dissolves, and the area continues to heal. In some cases, however, the scar tissue may develop into adhesions that grow and connect pelvic organs or tissues that normally are separate.
Adhesions are very common after pelvic or abdominal surgery. The chances that adhesions will form after surgery and what problems may result depend on many things: the type of surgery you’re having, the number of previous surgeries you've had, and the surgical technique used.
Most patients develop adhesions after pelvic surgery. In fact, studies have shown that adhesions formed in 55-100% of patients who had reproductive pelvic surgery.1
Pelvic adhesions may result in the following symptoms or complications:
Chronic pelvic pain – adhesions are found in about 25% of women with chronic pelvic pain2
Increased potential for bladder injury during subsequent surgery3
Infertility – up to 20% of infertility in women may be caused by adhesions4
Bowel obstruction – postoperative adhesions are the most common cause of small bowel obstruction5
|1.||diZerega GS. Peritoneum, peritoneal healing, and adhesion formation. In: diZereg GS ed. Peritoneal Surgery. New York, NY: Springer; 2000; 16.|
|2.||Howard FM, Chronic pelvic pain. Obstet Gynecol. 2003;101:606.|
|3.||Van Goor H, Consequences and complications of peritoneal adhesions. The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, 2007;9(2):25-34.|
|4.||Hershlag A, Diamond MP, DeCherney AH. Adhesiolysis. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 1991; 34:395.|
|5.||Al-Took S, Platt R, Tulandi T. Adhesion-related small-bowel obstruction after gynecologic operations. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999;180(2):313-315.|