The development of postoperative intraperitoneal adhesions continues to be a major concern for surgeons. The purpose of this study was to establish a postoperative adhesion model in rats, and to assess the effectiveness of tranilast (N-(3',4'-dimethoxycinnamoyl)anthranilic acid) in preventing postoperative adhesion formation. The adhesion model was established in 12 male Donryu rats. This involved two essential factors, drying and bleeding. Another 22 male Donryu rats were used to study the prevention of intraperitoneal adhesions. Tranilast was administered orally pre- and postoperatively. Adhesion strength was evaluated by grading, and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and transforming growth factor-beta-1 (TGF-beta1) concentration were measured. Postoperative intraperitoneal adhesions were seen in all rats, but the adhesions in the tranilast group were significantly less severe than those in the control group. Serum bFGF and TGF-beta1 levels in the tranilast group were lower at the time of surgery than those in the control group, and bFGF levels were lower at the endpoint of this study in the tranilast group than in the control group. The TGF-beta1 levels at the end-point did not differ between the two groups. These findings demonstrated that tranilast significantly reduced postoperative intraperitoneal adhesion formation.