What are adhesions?
An adhesion is a band of scar tissue between organs in the abdomen and pelvis. To explain in simpler terms, adhesions are thin sheets of tissues that look similar to a plastic wrap. Usually, the organs in the abdomen have slippery surfaces and they shift over each other easily with the body movement. Adhesions are formed when there is injury in the form of injury, surgery, trauma, infection, or radiation. An adhesion causes the tissues or organs to join together, it may bind the loops of the intestines to each other, to the surrounding organs, or to the wall of the abdomen, sometimes to the uterus and fallopian tubes.
Symptoms of Adhesions
Most adhesions show no symptoms and thus they remain undiagnosed. Only in some women, adhesions produce the following symptoms, depending on the location they are present in:
1. Chronic pelvic pain
3. Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy
4. Abdominal pain
How do we diagnose adhesions?
There are no diagnostic examinations to detect adhesions. They cannot be picked up on ultrasound scan, CT scan or MRI. These are usually diagnosed while performing surgery or are incidentally found during surgery for something else.
Treatment of Adhesions
Some adhesions go away on their own in some time. A few of them do not have any symptoms and thus need not have to be removed. But for other types of adhesions that cause extreme symptoms, treatment is attempted with medication rather than surgery. Reason being that the adhesions may recur. In cases where surgery is indispensable, the treatment called adhesiolysis is performed. In this process, the adhesions are cut and removed. This process can be performed through laparoscopy or laparotomy.
1. Laparoscopy – It is a keyhole procedure where a small incision is made on the skin near umbilicus to insert a camera into the body. This helps locate the adhesions that can be then cut and separated.
2. Laparotomy – A bigger incision in the tummy, just above the bikini line or in the midline below the umbilicus, in case adhesiolysis is not possible through laparoscopy.
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