Identifying and Treating Abdominal Adhesions

Identifying and Treating Abdominal Adhesions

male with abdominal pain

Abdominal adhesions are common in people who have had abdominal surgery. According to the National Institutes of Health, they develop in more than nine in every 10 people who have surgery that opens the abdomen.

Here’s more about the causes and symptoms and how to contact Advanced Laparoscopic Associates if you need intestinal or abdominal surgery.

What Are Abdominal Adhesions?

Abdominal adhesions are bands of internal scar tissue that form between your abdominal organs, mainly your intestines. They form after you have had any type of abdominal surgery.

Adhesions will naturally form in the body as it attempts to repair and heal itself following a surgical procedure. However, they can also develop after an injury, infection or radiation exposure.

What Are the Symptoms?

Many times, abdominal adhesions do not produce symptoms, but when they do, the most common symptom is chronic abdominal pain.

They may lead to intestinal blockage, or obstruction, in some people. Sometimes, internal scar tissue can cause the intestines to twist and kink to prevent foods, liquids, waste and air from passing through the body. Symptoms of intestinal blockage include bloating, nausea, vomiting and severe abdominal pain.

How Are They Diagnosed?

Your doctor may diagnose abdominal adhesions by reviewing your medical history, performing a physical exam and running blood and imaging tests. In some cases, surgery may be required to accurately diagnose the root cause of your abdominal symptoms.

Blood tests and imaging tests cannot reveal whether you have abdominal adhesions; however, they can help your doctor rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.


Abdominal adhesions do not typically require treatment if they are not producing symptoms or complications like intestinal obstruction. Any surgery performed to treat them usually leads to the formation of additional internal scar tissue.

In cases where intestinal obstruction is severe, surgery may be required to release the adhesions causing the blockage. Your doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of surgery based on your symptoms and on the severity of your intestinal obstruction.

Can You Prevent Abdominal Adhesions?

Abdominal adhesions cannot be prevented by a doctor or surgeon. However, the risk for adhesions is smaller with laparoscopic surgery than with open surgery. This is because laparoscopic surgery requires a series of tiny incisions versus one large incision with open surgery, which can lead to a greater mass of internal scar tissue.

Request an appointment with Advanced Laparoscopic Associates today or call (201) 646-1121 if you think you may need intestinal or abdominal surgery. We can talk to you in greater detail about your condition and discuss all your available treatment options.