Home Icon

Loading, Please Wait...

Adhesions: Surgery’s Hidden Killer

1019 Days ago

Invisible to most tests, life-threatening adhesions can form after surgeryResearchers are closing in on a cure

Gainesville, FL, Sept. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Adhesions, the internal scars that can form after surgery, have plagued doctors for centuries. Invisible to most diagnostic tests, these powerful internal bonds can act like glue in the body, causing pain, infertility and life-threatening bowel obstructions when they block intestines, preventing food from passing through the body. With costs surpassing six billion dollars a year, adhesion removal and bowel repair are two of the top five emergency surgeries performed in the U.S.A. each year.i

 Unfortunately, 93% of open abdominal surgeries cause new adhesions to formii, and post-surgical adhesions are the leading cause of life-threatening bowel obstructions. One in five Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after surgery due to complications such as infection or adhesions; over half are re-hospitalized or die within the first year after surgical proceduresiii. Deaths from emergency surgery are eight times the normal population for the same procedureiv.

 Two research teams are making inroads into the vexing problem of post-surgical adhesions. Physicians from Stanford and Harvard medical school recently identified an antibody that diminished adhesion formation in mice that developed adhesions after surgery.v If the technology can be shown to work in humans, it could create a breakthrough for surgeons in preventing the problem of adhesions forming after surgery.

Another team of doctors from Stanford, Washington and Univ of Florida medical schools have reported good success using a manual physical therapy to treat patients diagnosed with adhesions that cause bowel obstructions after surgery. In a controlled (phase two) study of 239 patients, the group receiving the ‘hands-on’ therapy had less than a 1% recurrence of life-threatening bowel obstructions while those who received the present standard of care had a 15% recurrence.vi

 In a separate study, the team displayed ‘before and after’ x-rays of a woman scheduled for surgery to reverse two adhesive obstructions in her bowel before therapy. As shown in the x-rays (attached), the therapy totally cleared both obstructions, negating the need for surgery.vii

 Besides decreasing adhesions and surgical risks, cost savings can be significant. The studies are based on 20 hours of an innovative manual therapy (Clear Passage Approach®) at a cost of $7,500. Bowel surgery costs average $114,175 including over two weeks of hospitalization according to government sources.viii

 “Adhesions are a major problem after surgery,” said study author Dr. Janey Pratt, a surgeon of 20+ years who recently moved from Harvard to Stanford medical schools. “Beyond causing pain or infertility, they can be lethal when they squeeze or kink the intestines closed. This therapy appears to reverse that condition for some patients.”

 The therapy evolved over 30 years from a physical therapist’s need to find relief from debilitating adhesions. A year after physical therapist Belinda Wurn had pelvic surgery and radiation therapy for cancer, she was in debilitating pain due to adhesions. Feeling that surgery would cause more scarring, her doctors refused to operate. She and her husband Larry, a massage therapist, knew they had to find another solution to prevent a lifetime of pain.

 “It’s been a rewarding search,” Belinda said. “Doctors often want to avoid surgery due to concerns about post-surgical adhesions. This non-invasive therapy seems to decrease adhesions, obviating the need for surgery for many of these patients.”

 The focus of the research is a sophisticated medical massage protocol cited in published studies for saving lives and reversing infertility with success rates that often rival surgery – using only the therapist’s hands.

 “We were surprised when we saw pregnancies in women diagnosed totally infertile,” said gynecologist Richard King, surgeon and Chief of Staff of a large regional hospital at the time. "Women with totally blocked fallopian tubes were becoming pregnant naturally and easily after receiving the therapy. It seemed impossible; we knew we had to investigate further.” After several studies showed success with the therapy, the group decided to try their work on larger blocked tubes – the intestines.

 Several studies on the therapy have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals. "A 2015 study examined nearly 1400 infertile women with adhesions and treated by the group over 10 years.ix It showed they opened tubes in 61% of those with totally blocked fallopian tubes; most then became pregnant naturally and several have had subsequent natural pregnancies,” Dr. King said. “In women with endometriosis, often associated with adhesions, pregnancy rates rivaled those achieved by surgery. The therapy improved IVF pregnancy rates three to five times the norm for women over 40 when performed before embryo transfer.”

 “At that point, we thought infertility treatment would be our sole focus; then our horizons expanded,” Wurn said. “The therapy that opened tubes started helping people with life-threatening bowel obstructions which can occur after surgery.”

 To date, approximately a dozen studies and citations examine the use of the Clear Passage Approach® to improve fertility and decrease adhesions for patients with pain or repeat bowel obstructions. "It feels like we’re creating a new field of medicine," said Dr. King.

 Dorise Hunt suffered her first bowel obstruction years after an abdominal surgery. “The pain was horrific,” she said. “My doctor said I would die if I did not have surgery.” The surgery saved her life, but it created new adhesions and more obstructions in subsequent years. “Despite my doctor’s skills, the surgeries were slowly killing me.”

 Hunt underwent seven abdominal surgeries for adhesions and obstructions. “I was on a merry-go-round of pain, obstruction and surgery,” she said. “My doctors had scheduled my eighth surgery when I read about this non-surgical treatment. The therapy literally saved my life.”

 Several recent studies examine the unique therapy as an adjunct to medical care to decrease adhesions, improve fertility and stop recurring obstructions. “The first patient I sent to them was very complex,” Dr. Pratt said. I wanted to avoid surgery if I could. I was skeptical but results from the therapy were impressive; it allowed us to cancel surgeries. It is refreshing and important to have an alternative in cases where none existed before."

 More information about adhesions is available in a recent book by the Wurns titled: Adhesions: the Body’s Hidden Menace.

About Clear Passage Physical Therapy® – Clear Passage programs are designed to decrease adhesions using a 5-day protocol; it is provided in various cities in the USA and UK. The therapy has been shown to prevent surgery, decrease chronic pain and bowel obstructions, and significantly improve female fertility. Peer-reviewed studies that report their success rates are authored by physicians and scientists from medical schools including Harvard, Stanford, Washington and Univ. of Florida.

Locations: New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; Gainesville, FL; Boca Raton, FL; St. Louis, MO; and London, UK.

Contact Clear Passage Therapy by phone (352-336-1433) or email (info@clearpassage.com).


Media contact: 

Larry Wurn




i Scott JW et al. Use of National Burden to Define Operative Emergency General Surgery, JAMA Surg. 2016 Jun 15;151(6):e160480. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.0480. Epub 2016 Jun 15

ii Menzies D, Ellis H.  Intestinal obstruction from adhesions--how big is the problem? Annals Royal College of Surgery of England, v.72(1); 1990 Jan, PMC2499092

iii Jencks SF, Rehospitalizations among patients in the Medicare fee-for-service program, N Engl J Med. 2009 Apr 2;360(14):1418-28. doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa0803563.


iv Havens JM et al.  The excess morbidity and mortality of emergency general surgery J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2015;78(2):306-311

v Tsai JM et al, Surgical adhesions in mice are derived from mesothelial cells and can be targeted by antibodies against mesothelial markers, Science Translational Medicine 28 Nov 2018: Vol. 10, Issue 469, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan6735

vi Rice AD et al. Decreasing recurrent bowel obstructions, improving quality of life with physiotherapy: Controlled studyWorld J Gastroenterol. 2018;24(19):2108–2119. doi:10.3748/wjg.v24. i19.2108

vii Weinstock L, Pratt SA et al (2018). Manual physical therapy clears adhesive bowel obstruction and strictures in a patient with Crohn’s disease. International Journal of Case Reports. 10.28933/ijcr-2018-04-2801.

viii HCUPnet: A tool for identifying, tracking, and analyzing national hospital statistics. 2012; Available from: URL: http://hcupnet.ahrq. gov/HCUPnet.jsp?Id=6D36343307A90AD9Form=SelLAYJS=YA ction=%3E%3ENext%3E%3E_LAY=Researcher


ix Rice AD et al. 2015. Ten-year retrospective study on the efficacy of a manual physical therapy to treat female infertility. Alt Ther Health Med, 21(3):32-40.


                                                                                                          # # #


Larry Wurn
Clear Passage Therapies

We Are Diffrent
Is your business listed correctly on America’s largest city directory network of 1,000 portals? Find your City Portal