Other nonneoplastic


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Last staff update: 21 April 2021

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PubMed search: Adhesions[TI] colon[TIAB]

Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
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Cite this page: Gonzalez RS. Adhesions. website. Accessed February 8th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Serosa based fibrous bands of scar tissue that cause colon to connect and adhere to nearby structures, typically other viscera
Essential features
  • Fibrovascular scar tissue of the colonic serosa, usually secondary to injury or prior surgery
  • Can distort anatomy and lead to complications such as obstruction, herniation or ischemia
  • Can occur anywhere in GI tract, commonly between bowel segments or abdominal wall and operative site
  • Typically due to injury, such as prior surgical procedures, infection (i.e. peritonitis) or radiation damage
  • Also Crohn's disease or serosal endometriosis
  • Rarely congenital
Clinical features
  • Typically observed radiologically or during surgery; can also be seen microscopically
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Between loops of intestine

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Cellular fibrous connective tissue containing vessels and nerves; may contain fat and smooth muscle clusters (J Pathol 2000;192:67)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Serosal adhesions Serosal adhesions

Serosal adhesions

Images hosted on other servers:

Attached to intestinal
serosa and
linking viscera

Sample pathology report
  • Ascending colon, resection:
    • Segment of colon with reactive change and prominent serosal adhesions
    • Margins of resection unremarkable.
    • Four benign lymph nodes.
Board review style question #1

Which of the following is true about colonic serosal adhesions?

  1. Abdominal obstruction is a rare complication
  2. Most are congenital
  3. They are only detectable microscopically
  4. They can be caused by prior surgery
Board review style answer #1
D. They can be caused by prior surgery

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Reference: Adhesions
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