Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that form between organs in the abdominal cavity. By distorting the normal anatomy, the function of those organs can be impaired. Adhesions that involve the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and bowel may cause sub-fertility and also chronic pelvic pain, pain with intercourse and increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Adhesions may form as a result of surgery, infection, haemorrhage or trauma.
Adhesions may only be diagnosed at the time of surgery. This may either be by laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) or laparotomy (open surgery). Adhesiolysis (surgery to remove adhesions) can generally be performed by laparoscopy in order to restore normal anatomy. Good surgical technique and the placement of anti-adhesion fluid or anti-adhesion barriers in the area of surgery at the end of the procedure may minimise the risk of further adhesion formation.