Lysis of Adhesions (removal of scar tissue from intestines)
An adhesion is scar tissue that has developed within the body, most commonly in the area of the abdomen or pelvis. Lysis is the process of cutting away the adhesion. When there is an adhesion, two organs may form an abnormal attachment which can affect the functioning of one or both organs involved and may also cause pain. Surgery to repair adhesions was rarely done but with the development of minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques, the lysis of adhesions has become more common.
Causes of Adhesions
Adhesions may develop for a variety of reasons. Most frequently, they are the result of surgery or inflammation. Specific causes may include the following:
- Radiation treatment for cancer
- Gynecological infections
Symptoms of Adhesions
The most common symptom of adhesions is chronic pain at the site. Symptoms may vary depending on the location of the adhesion, for example, vaginal adhesions may cause pain during sexual intercourse and pericardial adhesions may result in chest pain. Intestinal adhesions may cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Loud bowel sounds
- Inability to pass gas
In more severe cases, adhesions may cause bowel obstruction or infertility.
Diagnosis of Adhesions
Most adhesions are discovered during exploratory surgery since diagnostic imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasound, are unable to detect them. If, however, an adhesion has resulted in an intestinal blockage, the blockage may be visualized in abdominal X-rays, lower GI studies, also called barium contrast studies, and computerized tomography.
The lysis of adhesions procedure involves separating the connected organs. This surgery is done laparoscopically through small incisions, using small instruments. This minimally invasive procedure is performed to reduce the patient's symptoms and to free the involved organs so that they can return to their normal function. Any further surgery increases the chance of an adhesion recurring. Depending on the location in the body where the lysis procedure is taking place, it may be possible for the surgeon to place a barrier at the site to reduce the chance of recurrence.
While complications from this procedure are rare, there are always risks involved with any surgical procedure. As noted, the primary risk of surgery is the recurrence of an adhesion. Risks of any surgical procedure may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clots
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia or medications
- Post-surgical infection
- Damage to adjacent organs
- Breathing problems
- Hernia at the incision site
Recovery from the lysis of adhesions is usually uneventful, particularly if the procedure has been done laparoscopically. The laparoscopic surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure and the patient should be mostly recovered after a few days. Pain medicine will be prescribed by the physician in the immediate aftermath of the surgery, and the incision should be kept clean and dry. Patients are usually advised to refrain from drinking carbonated beverages for a few days and to avoid heavy lifting for several weeks.
To learn more about our Lysis of Adhesions (removal of scar tissue from intestines) Services, please contact us at (516) 627-5262 today to schedule an appointment.