The development of postoperative adhesions following abdominal surgery is not completely understood. Factors governing individual response leading to extensive adhesions in some patients and their absence in others remain unexplained. Most reports directly relate the formation of adhesions to the amount of trauma inflicted during operative handling and manipulation of tissues.1 Many experimental methods have been studied in an attempt to decrease postoperative adhesions because of their importance as a cause of intestinal obstruction. Recently, Knightly et al2 and Spagna and Peskin3 reported on the use of fibrinolysin to prevent adhesions in rats. The dose of fibrinolysin necessary to eliminate all adhesions was lethal in some animals. Investigation of less noxious substances seems justified.
Dextran has been used successfully to prevent thrombosis of small arteries and large veins following trauma to the intima.4,5 The mechanism by which dextran prevents thrombosis remains obscure. The total plasma volume