Adhesions are fibrous scars which can form after any disturbance within body cavities and spaces. Inciting events can include surgery, trauma, and inflammation.
Within hours of disturbance, thin, filmy strands form between bowel loops and between bowel and peritoneum and/or body wall. These continue to form for a period of time and mature over a period of weeks.
Mature adhesions are dense, white fibrous tissues which have merged with the outer layer of the tissues; they eventually develop their own blood supply and may become severe enough to cause chronic pain and pose a chronic risk of small bowel obstruction or volvulus.