If you were not able to understand "About Adhesions", which was meant for clinicians, this Genzyme article for patients may help you to have a better understanding of adhesions and chronic pain. This article may also help you understand why surgeons are so reluctant to do surgery for patients, who are known to have developed adhesions in prior surgeries. You will learn that adhesions are " fibrous bands that connect tissue surfaces that are normally separate." And in this article you will learn that your chronic pain " is NOT all in your head! ", as you may have been told. Adhesions do cause chronic pelvic pain!!
 What are Adhesions?
Adhesion formation is a normal, natural consequence of surgery, resulting when tissue repairs itself following incision, cauterization, suturing, or other means of trauma. At the site of such damage, tissues that normally should remain separate often become "stuck" together by fibrous scar tissue, called adhesions. This process generally occurs within the first few days following surgery.
Adhesions can lead to serious complications including small bowel obstruction, female infertility, chronic debilitating pain and difficulty with future operations. Following surgery, adhesions may form, for example, between the incision in the abdominal wall and the small bowel, preventing the passage of food. This obstruction can lead to vomiting and debilitating pain. In extreme cases, the bowel may rupture, necessitating emergency surgery for the patient.
The incidence of adhesions is overwhelming. Adhesions develop in up to 93 percent of patients following abdominal and pelvic surgery. Postsurgical adhesions cause up to 74 percent of bowel obstructions. Over 20 percent of adhesive intestinal obstructions occur within one month of surgery, and up to 40 percent will occur within one year.
The consequences of adhesions are substantial. Postsurgical adhesions are responsible for 20-50 percent of chronic pelvic pain cases. Adhesions also are a leading cause of female fertility, causing 15-20 percent of cases. Quality of life is greatly impaired.
Quite often a patient will undergo surgery to lyse (remove) adhesions, only to have them reform. Once a patient has undergone a colorectal procedure, the incidence of reoperation within two years is high--up to 20 percent of those patients will have a subsequent colorectal procedure in that time. Between 2.3 percent and 5 percent of patients will undergo adhesiolysis for bowel obstruction within two years of colorectal surgery.
Reoperations are often complicated by adhesions. Consequently, surgeons must spend a considerable amount of time from ten minutes to hours dividing adhesions before the current procedure can begin. This prolongs the patient's recovery and increases the surgical risk and cost.