The most common type of surgical adhesion is an abdominal adhesion, occurring in over 93 percent of patients who undergo abdominal or pelvic surgery according to WebMD. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that connect tissues that are not normally connected. Adhesions can be very thin, or they can present as thick bundles of tissue. Although adhesions can occur anywhere in the body, after the abdomen they are most often found in the pelvis or the heart.
There often are no symptoms associated with adhesions, notes eMedicineHealth. However, the most common symptom is nerve pain within the adhesion or due to the adhesion straining the tissues it is connected to. Sometimes adhesions have specific complications associated to their location. For example, an adhesion located above the liver can result in pain while breathing deeply. Adhesions in the intestines can cause pain during exercise or while stretching, and adhesions within the vagina or uterus can result in painful intercourse. If a bowel obstruction occurs due to an adhesion, patients should seek medical attention immediately. Some signs that there may be a bowel obstruction include a complete halt to bowel and gas movement, severe and constant pain, a lack of bowel sounds and fever, according to WebMD.