Adhesion barrier

Adhesion barrier

An adhesion barrier is a medical implant that can be used to reduce abnormal internal scarring (adhesions) following surgery by separating the internal tissues and organs while they heal. Prior to the availability of adhesion barriers, adhesions were documented to be an almost unavoidable consequence of abdominal and pelvic surgery. These adhesions can lead to significant post-surgical morbidity including bowel obstruction, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain.

Surgeons and healthcare professionals developed several methods for minimizing tissue injury in order to minimize the formation of adhesions. However, even an experienced surgeon using advanced techniques may not be able to prevent the formation of adhesions following surgery without the aid of an adhesion barrier. Consequently, many surgeons have come to rely upon adhesion barriers for adhesion prevention following abdominal and pelvic surgery.

Adhesion barriers, such as Seprafilm, are films that are applied between layers of tissues at the end of a surgery before the incision site is closed. Seprafilm is a clear, sticky film composed of chemically modified sugars, some of which occur naturally in the human body. It sticks to the tissues to which it is applied and is slowly absorbed into the body over a period of seven days. While in place, Seprafilm acts as a physical barrier that separates traumatized tissue surfaces so that they do not adhere to one another while the tissue surfaces heal. Other adhesion barriers, such as Interceed, work in much the same way, with varying degrees of efficacy over varying lengths of time.


  • Becker JM, Dayton MT, Fazio VW, et al (1996). "Prevention of postoperative abdominal adhesions by a sodium hyaluronate-based bioresorbable membrane: a prospective, randomized, double-blind multicenter study". J. Am. Coll. Surg. 183 (4): 297–306.
  • Diamond MP (1996). "Reduction of adhesions after uterine myomectomy by Seprafilm membrane (HAL-F): a blinded, prospective, randomized, multicenter clinical study. Seprafilm Adhesion Study Group". Fertil. Steril. 66 (6): 904–10.

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