Lysis of Adhesions

Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that can form in your pelvis or abdomen after having surgery in one of these areas. The formation of adhesions is completely normal and is part of the body’s natural healing process.

Sometimes, adhesions can cause problems and affect other organs. Lysis of adhesions is a procedure in which adhesions are surgically removed to reduce pain and the risk of related complications.

Here’s more about how lysis of adhesions works and how to contact Advanced Laparoscopic Associates if you think you may need this treatment.

What Is Lysis of Adhesions?

Lysis of adhesions refers to a surgical procedure in which problematic adhesions are removed from your body.

Adhesions can form in your body after a pelvic, abdominal or intestinal surgery. Abdominal adhesions develop in more than 9 in every 10 people who have had abdominal surgery. They are more likely to occur after open surgery than after laparoscopic surgery and may also be caused by infections or inflammatory conditions in the abdomen, such as Crohn’s disease, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Adhesions can cause your organs to connect to one another, leading to severe pain and increasing your risk for organ damage. They are also associated with high rates of morbidity, mortality and increased medical costs—the latter of which is especially true when you need repeat treatments for various related problems.

Many times, abdominal adhesions do not cause symptoms. Hoever when they do, symptoms may include:

  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Constipation
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever

Many of the above symptoms are also signs of intestinal obstruction, which occurs when the intestines become partially or fully blocked to restrict the movement of foods, fluids or stool through the intestines. Abdominal adhesions are the most common cause of obstruction in the small intestine. When not treated right away, intestinal obstruction may lead to intestinal tissue death and peritonitis.

Reasons to Have Lysis of Adhesions

Severe chronic pain, intestinal obstruction and infertility are among the most common reasons to have lysis of adhesions. You may also want to have this procedure if you frequently experience nausea and vomiting due to your adhesions. Intestinal obstruction is considered a medical emergency as it can permanently damage your intestines and lead to death.

See your healthcare provider right away if you think you may have adhesions that are causing your symptoms. Adhesions can usually be diagnosed using a combination of tests, including blood tests, imaging tests and surgery—the latter may also involve surgically removing the adhesions at the same time they are discovered.

How Is This Procedure Performed?

Lysis of adhesions can be performed as an open or laparoscopic surgery. However, the risk of future adhesions and other complications is far lower with laparoscopic lysis of adhesions.

With laparoscopic lysis of adhesions, your surgeon will make two to four tiny incisions across the abdomen as opposed to one long incision that is made with open surgery. Then, your surgeon will insert a laparoscope into one of the incisions, which is a thin scope with a light and camera that sends pictures of your insides to a nearby screen. Your surgeon will use the pictures as a guide to carefully sever your adhesions.

At the end of the procedure, your incisions will be closed and covered with bandages. Laparoscopic lysis of adhesions usually takes between one and three hours to perform and results in a hospital stay of one to three days.


Total recovery from lysis of adhesions usually takes up to two weeks. During this time, you will be advised to avoid any physical activity that could open your sutures or delay healing.

Like any other medical procedure, lysis of adhesions does come with risks, including the risk of infection. After you return home, your surgeon will ask you to keep an eye out for signs of infection, including fever, chills, swelling and discharge from one or more incisions. Steps you can take to reduce your risk for infection include washing your hands frequently and before touching your wounds, reminding medical staff to wear gloves and masks and not letting others—such as your spouse or partner—touch your healing incisions.

Contact your surgeon right away if you are experiencing any signs of infection or any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain that doesn’t go away with medicine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Difficulty passing urine or stool
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath 

Advanced Laparoscopic Associates offers a wide range of bariatric and general surgeries, including lysis of adhesions. If you think you may need this procedure, contact us today to request an appointment and to learn more about our many other services.

Call (201) 646-1121 today and schedule your consultation with one of our surgeons!


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