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Adhesions are bands of fibrotic tissue (scar tissue) that form between adjacent organs and structures, such as between the ovaries and pelvic sidewall and between the uterus and bowel. Adhesions can be thin and cobweb-like or dense and thick like hardened glue. They arise from pelvic disease (such as endometriosis), infection or injury (including previous surgery).


Some people are more prone to forming adhesions than others. In severe cases it is almost as if a tube of superglue has been deposited into the abdominal cavity, causing structures to fuse and distorting the pelvic anatomy. If adhesions stretch or constrict a vital structure, such as the bowel, this can result in pain and other symptoms, such as bowel obstruction and nausea.

Many physicians believe, and thus patients are told, that if they have adhesions they should not have surgery because it will only make them worse. While it is possible for the scar tissue to return in full, in our experience, this is the exception rather than the rule. With the techniques that Dr. Cook uses, most patients have a marked reduction in adhesion formation. It is possible to reduce the amount of scar tissue, or even eliminate it surgically. The use of adhesion barriers and an early second look procedure to take down newly forming adhesions before they become established can help provide ongoing relief.

I have been dealing with this problem for 27 years. I have tried not to let it slow me down but as I age it does get a little more difficult. I feel really encouraged that there is really a better answer for me than “you need to live with it”.
-Carolyn T.

Treatment of Adhesions

Various techniques can be used to remove adhesions, restore your pelvic anatomy, alleviate adhesion-related pain and prevent recurrence. For more about these specific surgical techniques used, please reference the Adhesiolysis Section of our Endometriosis Specialty Center. This link provides further specifics on:

  • Adhesiolysis
  • Adhesion Barriers
  • Ovarian Suspension
  • Early Second Look Laparoscopy
  • Patient Assisted Laparoscopy

Further reading on Adhesions

Adhesiolysis (removal of adhesions)

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