BACKGROUND Sodium hyaluronate and carboxymethylcellulose (HA-CMC) membrane is an effective barrier material for limiting postoperative adhesions, but can be difficult to apply in certain situations due to its physical properties. We tested whether HA-CMC membrane hydrated in saline (slurry) is an effective alternative to HA-CMC membrane for preventing surgical adhesions in rat models of abdominal surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS All studies were performed in rat cecal abrasion or sidewall defect models of adhesion formation. Adhesions were examined 7 d after surgery. In separate studies, the effects of variations in slurry composition, volume, and site of application on anti-adhesive properties were studied and compared with untreated controls. Finally, the effectiveness of HA-CMC membrane slurry for preventing adhesions was compared with that of conventional HA-CMC membrane. RESULTS Application of HA-CMC membrane slurry to traumatized tissue resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of adhesions compared with untreated controls in both rat surgery models. Slurry was equally effective when applied in low and high film-to-volume formulations, but had minimal effect when applied in a small volume or at a location distal to the injury. Comparison of HA-CMC membrane slurry and conventional HA-CMC membrane indicated similar efficacy for reducing postoperative adhesions. CONCLUSIONS In rat models of abdominal surgery, HA-CMC membrane slurry reduced postoperative adhesion formation and may be an effective alternative for HA-CMC membrane in situations where its use is limited by its physical properties.