Background: Physical barriers and instilled solutions have been studied to prevent intra-abdominal adhesions. However, undesirable side effects of these substances on the healing of intestinal anastomoses may limit their use. This study was designed to compare the effects of antiadhesives on the healing of colonic anastomosis in rats. Methods: Sixty female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 3 groups of 20. The animals received isotonic saline and 7.5% icodextrin, intraperitoneally after standard left colonic anastomosis. In group 3, Seprafilm((R)) was wrapped around the anastomosis and also laid over the abdominal viscera. Half of the animals from each group were killed on postoperative day (POD) 4 and the remaining half on POD 21. Adhesion scoring, bursting pressure and tissue hydroxyproline measurements and histopathological assessment were performed. Results: Mean hydroxyproline levels were significantly higher in groups receiving icodextrin and Seprafilm compared with the control group, whereas mean bursting pressures were significantly higher in the group that received icodextrin p < 0.05). Intraperitoneal administration of icodextrin resulted in significant reduction of adhesion formation on POD 21 ( p < 0.05). Conclusions: Seprafilm does not prevent formation of adhesions as much as icodextrin does, but its effect on the healing of colonic anastomoses is similar. Copyright (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.