Importance of using mesh in hernia repair surgery

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Hernia mesh, also known as surgical mesh, is a medical device used to support damaged tissue around a hernia while it heals. During hernia surgery, the hernia mesh is placed across the damaged area in the upper stomach, abdomen or groin and attached with sutures. The pores in the mesh allow tissue to grow into the device. The mesh supports the primary repair of the muscle tissue. 

Benefits of using mesh in hernia surgery 

Generally, there is a risk of recurrence with hernia surgery. Surgical mesh is used to strengthen the area around the hernia to reduce the rate of recurrence. The chances of hernia recurrence are decreased by up to 50% when using mesh. Research has consistently shown a lower recurrence rate using mesh versus hernia repair without mesh. 

The use of mesh can also improve patient outcomes. At the Hernia Center, we have seen decreased operative time and quicker recovery times. 

The use of mesh in ventral, incisional and inguinal hernia repair is the standard of care in the United States. 

What is hernia mesh made from? 

Most surgical mesh products are made from synthetic materials. Synthetic materials are usually made of polyester or polypropylene.  

Non-absorbable mesh is considered a permanent implant and will remain in your body to provide permanent reinforcement. Absorbable mesh will dissolve over time. It will not provide long-term reinforcement to the repaired area. New tissue that grows in this area will provide the strength needed to support the affected area. 

In some cases, such as infected sites, surgical mesh is not recommended in hernia repair. Surgeons with the Hernia Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) evaluate each case individually to develop the most appropriate treatment plan for each patient. Our surgeons are highly skilled at mesh and non-mesh repair techniques for hernias of all complexity. 

Potential complications 

Most complications related to hernia repair with surgical mesh have been associated with mesh products that are no longer on the market. Pain, infection, recurrence, adhesion, obstruction and tissue perforation are some of the complications most frequently reported with recalled mesh. 

Most brands and models of mesh today have excellent safety rates and have been used for many years. In general, the mesh that is used for most repairs at the Hernia Center of NGMC is the same mesh our surgeons have used for more than 10 years. 

Like any surgery, though, mesh has risks – but the risk depends on the type of hernia, where it is located, if the surgery is emergent or non-emergent, and the experience level of your surgeon. 

Why experience matters in hernia repair surgery 

Hernia surgery is complex, so it is important to choose a surgeon who has vast experience in treating hernias. Our Hernia Center surgeons are highly experienced and have performed more than 5,300 minimally invasive hernia repairs. You can trust their experience will help ensure you have the highest quality outcome. 

In fact, our surgeons at the Hernia Center of NGMC are nationally recognized by the Surgical Review Corporation for their commitment to improving the highest quality of care for patients who undergo hernia surgery. 

Next Steps

Learn more about the Hernia Center of NGMC at nghs.com/hernia-center or by calling 770-219-4040

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