Adhesion (medicine)

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Adhesion (medicine)
MedlinePlus 001493

Editor-in-Chief: Areej Tariq


Adhesions are abnormal bands of tissue that grow in the human body. They may be thought of as internal scar tissue. In the case of frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) adhesions grow between the shoulder joint surfaces, restricting motion.

Abdominal adhesions are most commonly caused by abdominal surgical procedures. Endometriosis is also another cause of abdominal adhesions. These adhesions may grow over time and become attached to the walls of the abdomen, as well as to internal organs. The adhesions may cause internal organs to attach to one another as well.

One common complication of abdominal adhesions is intestinal obstruction, in which an adhesion wraps around an intestine and prevents the flow of material through the digestive tract. Depending on the severity of the obstruction, a partial obstruction may relieve itself without medical intervention. However, many obstructions, if left untreated, may result in death. It is important that in the event that an obstruction occurs, the affected individual seek medical treatment immediately. For complete obstructions, or partial obstructions that do not relieve themselves within 24 hours, surgical intervention may be required to remove the adhesion(s) via adhesiolysis. It may take months or years for adhesions to cause an obstruction post-surgery.


Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Pericarditis
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect No underlying causes
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Fascioloides magna
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Abdominal surgery, Bowel obstruction, Crohn's disease, Helicobacter pylori, Laparotomy, Peritonitis,
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic Herniorrhaphy, Laparotomy, Organ xenotransplantation, Peritonitis, Surgical recovery,
Infectious Disease Fascioloides magna, Infection, Peritonitis, Uterine infection,
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic Shoulder pain
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional/Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic Caesarean section, Endometriosis, Intrauterine pressure, Uterine infection,
Oncologic Colorectal cancer, Desmoplasia, Helicobacter pylori,
Ophthalmologic Essential iris atrophy
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary Pleurisy
Renal/Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Surgical recovery
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order

External links