What is Adhesiolysis?

Adhesiolysis is the treatment used when scar tissue has built up along the spine causing pain. It is also called epidural adhesiolysis. When scar tissue builds up, it can cause root compression at the nerve, which can cause severe pain. When nerve roots get inflamed or irritated, it can result in chronic pain.


What is Involved in the Process?

If the pain is due to nerve root inflammation, a steroid can be injected with a needle in the lower posterior section to help relieve the pain. If there is scar tissue found and that is what is responsible for the pain, it may be necessary to insert a catheter that will administer steroids and other medications. X-rays will be used to help insert a needle into the back. The catheter is placed via the needle and then the medications and steroids are injected which will destroy the scar tissue. Once the scar tissue is destroyed, the inflammation and pain will subside in the damaged area. This should reduce infection and fluid buildup.


What Should You Expect?

You will be given a sedative before the procedure. The procedure will be done through the use of an x-ray that allows the surgeon to see your spine throughout the procedure. A contrast dye will be used to show the affected area where the scar tissue has built up. The catheter will be place in the posterior of the back and not directly into the spine.


Is It Safe?

Because the catheter is put directly into the infected area and not the spine, it reduces the adverse effects that could happen if there was an incorrect placement into the spine. It is a minimally invasive surgery so there is little concern that the injection site will become infected.


Are There Any Possible Complications?

Some people experience mild or moderate pain around the injection site right after the procedure. Some less common complications are excessive intracranial pressure, bleeding, subdural injection, infection, hematoma, and spinal cord compression. These complications are limited through the use of adequate training, sterile technique, and x-ray imaging.


Will It Help My Pain Conditon?

This procedure works great for helping people that suffer from spinal surgery syndrome, spinal stenosis, lumbar and cervical pain, or leg pain. If your doctor has diagnosed you with any of these conditions, you can talk to her about this procedure. If have not been diagnosed but are experiencing pain, you can see if you have the common symptoms and this will be a good sign of whether the procedure will work for you.


What are the Symptoms to Look Out For?

There are some symptoms that you can look out for. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call your physician because it could be the sign of a bigger problem.

  • Sensory and motor problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Leg pain
  • Lumbar spinal pain
  • Cervical pain

You may be experiencing these symptoms because of the above name medical conditions and if so, this procedure will work to alleviate the pain



Choi E, Nahm FS, & Lee PqB. Evaluation of prognostic predictors of percutaneous adhesiolysis using a Racz catheter for post lumbar surgery syndrome or spinal stenosis. Pain Physician. 2013; 16(5): 531-536.

Park CH & Lee SH. Effectiveness of percutaneous transforaminal adhesiolysis in patients with lumbar neuroforaminal spinal stenosis. Pain Physician. 2013; 16(1): 37-43.

Adhesiolysis Treatment in Chicago

Take the first step towards a pain-free life by scheduling your appointment with Premier Pain & Spine today!