Adhesions can make surgery complicated



January 11, 2019 - 4:07 PM

Dear Dr. Roach: Have you ever heard of a gallbladder being stuck to the intestines? That’s what the surgeon found when I went to have mine removed. Two days later, I went home with my gallbladder still in. I am worried about what might happen if I need it removed one day. The surgeon stated that it could be complicated. — M.P.

Answer: It’s called an adhesion when different parts of the abdominal contents stick to one another, and adhesions can come from previous surgery, occasionally from birth, or in your case, possibly from an attack of acute cholecystitis, an inflamed gallbladder, usually due to a stone. 

Adhesions do make the surgery more difficult, but I am a little surprised the surgeon decided against surgery entirely. The adhesions aren’t going to get better, and operating on the gallbladder when things are quiet is generally best. The surgeon needs to painstakingly remove the adhesions, taking great care not to damage either the intestines or the gallbladder. 

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