Definition - What does Adhesion mean?

Adhesions are masses of scar tissue which can form in the abdomen, including inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes. Adhesions which block the fallopian tubes may impair fertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy; adhesions which interfere with normal uterine functions may increase the risk of miscarriage.

Adhesions may also be known as pelvic adhesions.

FertilitySmarts explains Adhesion

Adhesions in the uterus and fallopian tubes may be caused by surgery, injury, endometriosis, or infection. Infections which can cause adhesion formation include pelvic inflammatory disease, chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted infections. Uterine surgery is another common cause; it is thought that most women who undergo ovarian or uterine surgery develop some adhesions during the healing process, although not all adhesions interfere with fertility or pregnancy.

Adhesions may be discovered or ruled out by a number of imaging techniques. Common techniques used to evaluate the health of the uterus and fallopian tubes include ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram (a pelvic X-ray which tracks the flow of contrast dye to see if the fallopian tubes are open), and hysteroscopy.

If adhesions are discovered and are believed to be interfering with fertility, surgery may be performed to remove them. Depending on the location and severity of the adhesions, the surgery may be done using laparoscopy, laparotomy, or other surgical techniques.

Surgery to remove adhesions increases chances of conception and successful pregnancy, although in some cases adhesions may re-form during the healing process after surgery. Some surgical techniques and products, such as anti-adhesion gauze, may be used to reduce the risk of adhesion formation following surgery.

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