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Bowel Obstruction Treatment Success Rates

Treatment Success Rates


Return to surgery rate within two years:  3% to 7%

Expected rate without Clear Passage:              30%

graph showing study results that prove clear passage significantly reduces the need for repeat surgeries in bowel obstruction patients


With our strong commitment to measuring and publishing results scientifically, bowel obstructions presented several research challenges to us. For one thing, there are 21 feet (7 meters) of small intestine (bowel), vs. about four inches (10 cm) of fallopian tubes. Even more challenging, when a tube is blocked, the woman can still function in all other ways. When the bowel is blocked, the patient is in an immediate life-threatening position. The obstruction must clear, or the patient will die. Finally, there are many more co-morbidities in the abdomen and bowel – concurrent conditions we must consider before we put our hands on a person who suffers repeat bowel obstructions.

A major problem for these patients is that the surgery designed to cure or save them often creates new adhesions – that block the bowels months or years later. Repeat surgeries cause repeat obstructions, we (and surgeons) see this every day. No matter how caring and skilled your doctor, surgeons cannot prevent the adhesions that form naturally in the body as it heals from the surgery. Thus, repeat life-threatening obstructions become a way of life for many people. These are the people we tend to help the most.

As usual, we started with publishing interesting case studies, then built into larger groups. As we go to press, we are submitting a controlled study with over 200 subjects in it, half of whom received CPA after bowel obstructions (the Treatment Group), and half of whom did not (the Control Group.) Look for that study to be published in 2018.

The data on this page represents the latest clinical data we have as of the date of this writing. It includes “before and after” reports from independent physicians and tests that have been published and validated by independent scientists and physicians.

Clear Passage Bowel Obstruction Treatment Success Rates

Adhesions may form as curtains or ropes within or between the loops of the bowel, completely blocking the passage designed to transport food. Click to enlarge.

Success Rates Overview

Published studies and statistical data show strong evidence of the improvements that our non-surgical therapy achieves in people with recurring small bowel obstructions (SBO). These include cleared obstructions, cleared strictures, decreased need for medications, decreased pain and improved quality of life. More importantly, they show a dramatic decrease in the need for additional surgery versus the expected rate.

Following is a timeline summary of our investigation with these conditions.

2008 – First SBO Patients Treated

When published studies showed we could open fallopian tubes blocked by adhesions, we developed therapy to clear the adhesions that cause bowel obstructions. Our success with these patients came quickly, inspiring us to begin to track data suitable for publication.

2013 – SBO Published Studies

We began publishing case studies about clearing bowel obstructions and adhesions via manual therapy using objective reports from independent physicians noting:

  • Before and after x-rays showing cleared bowel obstruction;
  • Before and after x-rays showing eliminated stricture (narrowing) in the bowel;
  • A patient whose only nutrition was intravenous before therapy could eat normally following therapy.

small bowel obstruction x-ray

before and after x-ray that shows the elimination of bowel strictures

Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2013


2014 –Validated Measurement Test Published

Some patients who have recurring SBOs have other symptoms; others do not. We published a scientifically validated questionnaire to measure common but serious quality of life issues for patients experiencing small bowel obstructions ‘before and after’ therapy. This test, now available to all physicians and scientists, helped give an overview of ‘quality of life’ changes for people who suffer repeat obstructions.


2015 – Measuring and Publishing Data on Quality of Life After Therapy

The independent data noted above generated interest in further studies. Subjective data, such as pain relief, is considered relevant when screened using a scientifically validated test, such as the one we published in 2014. We use it to measure:

  • Pain presence
  • Pain severity
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Diet
  • Medication
  • Quality of life
  • Range of motion (prior surgical adhesions can bind the abdomen, restricting trunk mobility)

As a result, we can now identify the areas where we are most effective, shown below.


2015 – Present Data to 15,000 Physicians

We were invited to present our work to 15,000 international gastroenterologists at Digestive Disease Week in Washington D.C. Results of that pilot study were published in the journal Gastroenterology (May 2015). Scientists noted improvement in every domain of ‘quality of life’ measurable for patients with prior bowel obstructions, including:

  • Pain decreased in 85% of patients;
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms deceased in 73% of patients;
  • Diet improved for 100% of patients who reported a severe impact on their diet before therapy, and in 50% of patients overall;
  • 83% of patients who were taking medication for bowel function maintenance before therapy were able to completely stop their medication;
  • Significant improvements in all six areas of trunk range of motion (flexion, extension, right and left side bending, right and left rotation)


Measuring Repeat Surgeries with and without Therapy

A vital concern for anyone who has ever undergone the terrible ordeal of bowel obstruction surgery is to avoid repeat hospitalization and surgery. Adding to this concern is the fact that abdominal surgery is the primary cause of bowel obstruction. Thus, post-surgical SBO patients worry they will have to undergo one or more repeat surgeries, leaving them in a cycle of obstruction-surgery-adhesions with no end in sight.

We have treated over 350 patients over the last eight years with concerns they would have to undergo another obstruction surgery. This large number allows us to start gathering long-term data on success rates, including percent of return surgeries in our patients compared to those who don’t receive our therapy.

We compiled the first of our long-term “return to surgery” rates from two sets of patients who received our therapy, and compared them to the norm (no therapy):

  • Dataset #1 – Clinical data on our earliest bowel obstruction patients
  • Dataset #2 – Scientific data published in a 2015 medical textbook


Repeat Surgeries without CPA Therapy

Repeat surgery within 30 days: According to U.S. government statistics, 18% of patients who undergo bowel obstruction surgery are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after their surgery. Some of these repeat surgeries are due to infection from bowel contents that leaked into the abdominal cavity during the first surgery. Set free in a warm, dark, moist environment, the escaped bacteria can grow quickly, creating an internal infection that requires immediate repeat surgery, with antibiotics administered directly to the surgical site.

Repeat surgery within two years: Abdominal surgery is the primary cause of small bowel obstruction. Based on medical literature, the expected rate of repeat surgery after SBO surgery is 30% without therapy; repeat surgeries generally start within the first two years.


Repeat Surgeries with CPA Therapy

Dataset #1 – Initial Data

Repeat surgeries up to five years after therapy: Initial clinical data examines our first 69 Clear Passage bowel obstruction patients for up to five years (mean 2.2 years) after therapy in two areas:

  • Repeat surgeries with and without compliance with our home program
  • Conditions where we observed negative outcomes

In this Dataset, 7% of patients we treated who followed our home program required additional surgery after therapy – much better than the 30% rate without Clear Passage therapy. In examining the unsuccessful cases, we were able to identify factors that pre-dispose a person to negative outcomes – to improve our results.

While our initial results with therapy were several times better than surgery, we continued to improve upon them over the years, as we modified our therapy, introduced a home maintenance program, and screened better for patients we felt would not benefit our treatment.

Dataset #2 – Published Results

Repeat surgeries after therapy:

As our inquiries became more scientific, we created and published a validated test to get a broader view of our results. This test gave more definitive scientific results, which were published in the medical textbook “Intussusception and Bowel Obstruction” (Rice & King, 2015). This Dataset showed a 3% return for surgery in bowel obstruction patients up to 35 months (mean 19 months) after therapy. Based on medical literature, the expected rate for return surgery would have been 30% – ten times our number.


Conclusion: A Chance to Avoid Surgery

Whether our “return to surgery” rate is 7% or 3% or between the two, it is clear that we greatly improved on the 30% “surgical return rate” for patients who do not receive our therapy. As we near the end of our first decade of treating patients with recurring bowel obstructions, we assume our rates will remain stable — or improve.


Pre-Disposing Factors for Poor Results

Over the years, we have learned to screen for conditions that pre-dispose a person to negative results. Thus, we now examine each patient’s medical history for present or past conditions that could lead to negative outcomes, e.g. active infection, radiation enteritis (bowel inflammation due to radiation therapy for cancer) and uncontrolled inflammatory processes (e.g. Crohn’s disease uncontrolled by medication). To help our patients, we now delay or decline applicants with conditions that could lead to negative outcomes. Please consult us if you have concerns about possible contraindications.


Life After Therapy 

If you have undergone bowel obstruction surgery, your intestines have been structurally compromised. It is impossible to return the internal abdominal structure you had before your first surgery. We cannot guarantee you will be able to eat all of the foods you ate before you began having obstructions. Some patients do; some do not.

Nevertheless, it is clear from the numbers above, and responses from the 400+ SBO patients we have treated to date, that the benefits of therapy and our home maintenance program are significant for most patients. The success rates of our therapy in eliminating the need for surgery and restoring quality of life are very encouraging.

Future Studies

We continue to follow our patients over time and collect outcome data, both long term and immediately following treatment. It is worthy to note that the initial results from the 400+ patients for whom we are presently gathering follow-up are equal or better than the numbers in the 69 patients above.