Adhesion

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Adhesion

Definition

Adhesions are bands of scar-like tissue that form between two surfaces inside the body.

Alternative Names

Pelvic adhesion; Intraperitoneal adhesion; Intrauterine adhesion

Causes

Inflammation, surgery, or injury can cause tissues to bond to other tissue or organs, much like the process of forming scar tissue. Sometimes, adhesions can form between the two surfaces. Abdominal surgery, endometriosis, attacks of appendicitis, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can also cause adhesions.

Depending on the tissues involved, adhesions can cause various disorders. In the eye, adhesion of the iris to the lens can lead to glaucoma. In the intestines, adhesions can cause partial or complete bowel obstruction.

Adhesions inside the uterus are so common that they have a name of their own -- Asherman syndrome. Pelvic adhesions can lead to infertility and reproductive problems.

Symptoms

Symptoms depend on the disorder or event that caused the adhesion.

Exams and Tests

Physical examination varies depending on the location of the adhesion. Various procedures, such as a laparoscopy for suspected pelvic adhesions, hysteroscopy, or hysterosalpingography, may be recommended.

Treatment

Surgery may be performed to separate the adhesions. This often allows normal movement of the organ and reduces the symptoms caused by the adhesion. However, the risk for more adhesions increases as the number of surgeries increases.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is usually good.

Possible Complications

Glaucoma, infertility, and bowel obstruction are possible complications of adhesions.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you are experiencing abdominal pain, persistent nausea and vomiting,or unexplained fever.

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