BACKGROUND: Our main aim was to investigate the effects of melatonin (ME), possibly the most powerful free-radical scavenger, on the prevention of i.p. adhesion formation in rat uterine horn. Our secondary aim was to determine whether different methods of administration of ME were beneficial. METHODS: Animals were randomly assigned into seven groups, each consisting of 13 rats. Measured serosal injury was created using a standard technique. While control and two sham groups were not given ME, two of the remaining four groups were given a single dose of 10 mg/kg (2 mg) of ME i.p. immediately after injury and 30 min prior to injury respectively. In the two other groups, ME treatment was continued daily for 5 days. All animals were killed 2 weeks after surgery and adhesions were determined and scored by a examiner blinded to the test. RESULTS: The extent, severity and total scores of adhesion were found to be significantly reduced in all of the ME treatment groups when compared with control and sham groups. There were no statistically significant differences between the treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that even single dose ME therapy was effective in the prevention of post- operative i.p. adhesion formation.