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Tissues injured by surgery often form bands of tissue as your immune system triggers the healing process. These bands are called adhesions.

Many times adhesions go unnoticed. However if you have had abdominal surgery adhesions could form around your bowel causing restriction and discomfort. Serious adhesions could cause a complete bowel obstruction which is a medical emergency.

For women, abdominal adhesions can cause fertility problems.

If you experience abdominal pain and bloating for an extended period of time you should seek medical attention. Your GP may prescribe pain relief and a diet to help ease the activity in your bowel. If your discomfort is not eased using conservative treatment, you may be referred to a consultant for surgery to break up your adhesions.

What happens during abdominal adhesion surgery?

Adhesion surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic. It is usually done as “keyhole surgery”. Your surgeon will make several small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen. They will insert special surgical tools and a thin tube with a camera and light source to examine and remove the adhesions. In some cases they may leave medication in your abdomen to help prevent further adhesions. Your wounds will be closed using stitches or staples.

You may need to stay in hospital 1-2 days. A longer stay may be required if your adhesions caused any damage to your organs.

Going home after abdominal adhesion surgery

Continue to take any pain relief mediation as prescribe. You should avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for about 4 weeks. Recovery from abdominal adhesion surgery will depend on your own medical situation.

Be sure and discuss any return to work with your consultant.

As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical wound
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots

Specific complications of abdominal adhesion surgery may include;

  • Bruising
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Injury to organs

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