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Lysis of Abdominal Adhesions

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about lysis of abdominal adhesions?

Lysis of abdominal adhesions is surgery to remove adhesions in your abdomen. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue. Adhesions can cause organs and surrounding tissues to be twisted, pulled out of place, or stuck together.

Abdominal Organs

How do I prepare for surgery?

  • Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home when you are discharged.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • You may need blood tests or x-rays before surgery.
  • You may need to clean out your intestines before surgery. Eat high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-wheat breads, for 2 days before your surgery. Drink liquids as directed. You may need to take a laxative the day before your surgery. Ask which laxative to take and when to take it.

What will happen during surgery?

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. You will be awake during the surgery with local anesthesia, but you should not feel pain.
  • Your surgeon will make one or more incisions on your abdomen. He or she will remove the adhesions or vaporize them with a laser. He or she may insert a barrier to keep new adhesions from forming.
  • Your incisions will be closed with stitches, staples, medical strips, or medical glue. A bandage will cover your wounds to help prevent infection.

What should I expect after surgery?

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to a hospital room.

  • Take deep breaths and cough 10 times each hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
  • Intake and output may be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your urine.
  • Medicines may be given to prevent or treat pain, nausea, or a bacterial infection. You may also need bowel movement softeners to make it easier to have a bowel movement. This medicine can also help prevent constipation.

What are the risks of lysis of abdominal adhesions?

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Your intestines may slow down after surgery. This can cause bloating and constipation. Organs, such as the liver or spleen, could be damaged during surgery. You may develop a life-threatening blood clot. You may get an incisional hernia (weak area around the incision). You may still have abdominal pain. More adhesions may grow where the surgery was done. You may need to have another surgery to remove adhesions.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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