Hernia Mesh – What You Need To Know
I want to talk about an important topic…and that’s mesh – mesh that goes in for hernia repairs. So, when it comes to hernia mesh, traditionally the concern has been for certain kinds of meshes like vaginal sling meshes or bladder meshes. But, most mesh that’s being put in now for hernia repairs have had some concerns from patients, from doctors and also from attorneys.
So what is the lowdown on mesh?
Well, mesh has been evolving over the last couple of decades. The most common type of mesh is called a synthetic mesh. It’s made out of materials such as polypropylene which is a kind of synthetic plastic or a ePTFE which is GORE-TEX or polyester. Many of them are good products, and necessary products. Studies show in most hernias, when you use mesh, you can reduce your recurrence rates tremendously. But, again, there’s concerns with putting a foreign body and a synthetic foreign body within your abdomen or other parts of your body. Certain other types of products have come out to address this.
One is called biologic mesh or biologic implants and these are usually products that are derived from animal skin or stomach or bowel wall. They’re cleansed of all the cellular material and go through a number of treatment processes. They’re very expensive and they don’t necessarily have the same durability that synthetic meshes have. But they can be used in certain situations; certain complex hernias, such that they’re the best choice for you. But again, they’re very expensive.
Another mesh coming out is called absorbable mesh, which is made of materials where the mesh doesn’t stay there – it dissolves, anywhere from six to twelve months, leaving scar tissue, your own tissue and protein in there to support the hernia repair.
Then there are hybrid meshes those are meshes made of a combination of biologic material and synthetic material and for some patients that’s a good option.
But, it’s important that you talk to your surgeon, because all hernias are different, all patients are different and the mesh choice really has to depend on the patient and the specific type of hernia. So, you want to make sure you’re fully informed, that your surgeon is fully informed and together you choose the product that’s right for you.