Roughly 60% of all cases of small bowel obstruction are caused by adhesions. Adhesions are a form of internal scar tissue, which develop in over 45–93% of patients who undergo abdominal surgery. With this relatively high incidence, the population at risk for adhesive small bowel obstruction (ASBO) is enormous. Minimally invasive surgery reduces surgical wound surface and thus holds promise to reduce adhesion formation. The use of minimally invasive techniques results in a 50% reduction of adhesion formation as compared to open surgery. However, since ASBO can be caused by just a single adhesive band, it is uncertain whether a reduction in adhesion formation will also lead to a proportional decrease in the incidence of ASBO. Minimally invasive surgery might also improve operative treatment of ASBO, accelerating gastro-intestinal recovery time and lowering the risk of recurrent ASBO associated with adhesion reformation. We will discuss recent evidence on the impact of minimally invasive surgery on the incidence of ASBO and the role of minimally invasive surgery to resolve ASBO. Finally, we will debate additional measures, such as the use of adhesion barriers, to prevent adhesion formation and adhesion-related morbidity in the minimally invasive era.
Part of the book: Intestinal Obstructions