Abdominal and pelvic adhesions are a major cause of morbidity. Appendicitis and appendicectomy are the commonest cause of intra-abdominal adhesion formation. Peritoneal injury, from a variety of causes, leads to peritoneal inflammation and with it the production of plasminogen activator inhibitors. These inhibitors result in the loss of normal mesothelial fibrinolytic activity, and if prolonged, this allows the organisation of fibrinous adhesions into permanent fibrous adhesions. Adhesions may be prevented by minimising injury and there is increasing evidence that laparoscopic surgery is an important method of adhesion prevention. A wide variety of products have been used experimentally to prevent adhesion formation but clinical interest at present is focused on the use of bioresorbable membranes which allow localised adhesion prevention. These products have been proven effective by randomised clinical trials and their use as a routine method of preventing intra-abdominal adhesion formation is likely to increase.