Adhesions in patients with chronic pelvic pain: A role for adhesiolysis?

Ahmad Hammoud, L. April Gago, Michael P. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


To review the relation between adhesions and pelvic pain and the effectiveness of adhesiolysis in pain control. Selective review of the literature. Patients with pelvic pain and/or undergoing adhesiolysis for pain control. Intraabdominal adhesions are accepted as etiologic factors for infertility and small bowel obstruction; however, the contribution of adhesions to pelvic pain is less clear. The most common laparoscopic findings in patients with and without pelvic pain were endometriosis and adhesions. Immunohistologic studies also have shown evidence of nerve fibers in adhesions that had been removed from patients with and without pelvic pain. Multiple adhesiolysis techniques have been employed, with outcome of surgical procedures ranging from no pain relief to pain relief in 90% of patients. However, randomized trials have shown that adhesiolysis is ineffective in improving the outcome of the treatment of pelvic pain, possibly because of adhesion reformation. Interestingly, adhesions are usually not described as an etiologic factor for pelvic pain in men; this might be related to a gender difference in pain perception or the possibility that adhesions per se do not cause pain. The correlation between pelvic pain and adhesions is uncertain. Adhesiolysis has not been shown to be effective in achieving pain control in randomized clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1483-1491
Number of pages9
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Pelvic pain
  • adhesiolysis
  • adhesions
  • chronic pelvic pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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