Postoperative adhesions

Ways to treat or prevent this outcome include further surgery, barrier agents, and — perhaps, surprisingly — Celebrex.

Three years ago, Anna B. had surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. The 45-year-old Seattle resident felt some discomfort afterward, and tried a special massage therapy that had helped her sore wrist. But the pelvic pain only got worse and started to wake her up at night. "It felt like something was grabbing and pulling, and I couldn't get it to unpull," she says.

A colonoscopy showed no problems, so doctors performed a laparoscopy, threading a slender video camera through a small incision into the abdomen to look for adhesions, the scar tissue that often develops after abdominal surgery. What happened next often occurs: The surgeon found an adhesion, this one extending from Anna's abdominal wall to her colon, and cut it away.

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