Monday, April 09, 2007

Women Are Unaware of the Dangers of Surgical Adhesions

Women focus on short-term concerns prior to pelvic surgery, not lasting complications.Although more than half of the country's women will have some type of pelvic surgery and are therefore at risk for surgical adhesions, a survey released this month by the not-for- profit National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) finds that women are largely unaware of the health risks associated with adhesions.Surgical adhesions occur when tissue in the abdominal cavity adheres, or gets stuck to other tissue. Adhesions commonly form following pelvic surgeries, such as hysterectomy, tubal ligation, cesarean section, and cyst removal. Left untreated, adhesions can cause infertility, abdominal pain, and bowel obstruction.The survey of 1,000 women showed respondents strongly believe women should be informed about surgical adhesions prior to surgery (69%). Conversely, an overwhelming majority of women (80%) who had pelvic surgery were not informed about adhesions prior to their surgery. Of the women in the survey who suffer from adhesions, seven out of ten (70%) say they would have taken special precautions to protect themselves from getting adhesions if they had been aware of possible adhesion-related complications.

Susan Jones, a human resources director and mother of three from McLean, Virginia, has experience with the long-term effects adhesions can have on a person's health. All of Jones's children were delivered by cesarean section. Due to adhesions caused by these three surgeries, she suffers from reoccurring abdominal pain and has been advised not to have any more children because of the increased difficulty of delivering a baby surrounded by such a large amount of scar tissue."My first c-section only took about 10 minutes for the doctor to get the baby out," said Jones. "My second c-section took nearly 45 minutes and my final c-section took nearly an hour and a half. My doctor had such a hard time maneuvering around the scar tissue to get to my baby.""If I had known about adhesions," continued Jones, "I would have talked to my doctor about what can be done to reduce my risk for getting them."Like Ms. Jones, half (51%) of survey respondents were not aware that preventative measures can be taken to lower your risk of adhesions and an even higher proportion (68%) of women that had undergone surgery did not know if their surgeon took specific steps to guard against adhesions. Read More

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