Mounting evidence highlights that adhesions are now the most frequent complication of abdominopelvic surgery, yet many surgeons are still not aware of the extent of the problem and its serious consequences. While many patients go through life without apparent problems, adhesions are the major cause of small bowel obstruction and a leading cause of infertility and chronic pelvic pain in women. Moreover, adhesions complicate future abdominal surgery with important associated morbidity and expense and a considerable risk of mortality. Studies have shown that despite advances in surgical techniques in recent years, the burden of adhesion-related complications has not changed. Adhesiolysis remains the main treatment even though adhesions reform in most patients. Recent developments in adhesion-reduction strategies and new anti-adhesion agents do, however, offer a realistic possibility of reducing the risk of adhesions forming and potentially improving the clinical outcomes for patients and reducing the associated onward burden to healthcare systems. This paper provides a synopsis of the impact and extent of the problem of adhesions with reference to the wider literature and also consideration of the key note papers presented in this special supplement to Colorectal Disease. It considers the evidence of the risk of adhesions in colorectal surgery and the opportunities and strategies for improvement. The paper acts as a 'call for action' to colorectal surgeons to make prevention of adhesions more of a priority and importantly to inform patients of the risks associated with adhesion-related complications during the consent process.

, , , ,,
Colorectal Disease
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Parker, M., Wilson, M. S., van Goor, H., Moran, B. J., Jeekel, H., Duron, J.-J., … Ellis, H. (2007). Adhesions and colorectal surgery - Call for action. Colorectal Disease, 9(SUPPL. 2), 62–72. doi:10.1111/j.1463-1318.2007.01355.x