Hernias occur when an organ, intestine, or other tissue squeezes through a weak area in nearby muscles or connective tissue. In many cases it protrudes through the skin surface and is visible. 90% of hernia surgeries use mesh to complete the repair. Let’s look at hernia repair surgery: what exactly is “mesh”?
Mesh Is a Medical Device
Mesh is a medical device used to strengthen the area around the hernia. Most surgeons use it to improve the outcomes of hernia surgeries, reduce recurrence, and shorten operative time as well as recovery time.
Recurrence, or a hernia coming back, had been a problem for surgeons in the past. Using mesh, now this has been reduced by up to 50%.
Surgeons can perform surgery without using mesh, but it has become more common since the 1980s. Using mesh has become the standard of care for most hernia surgeries.
Types of Mesh
Most mesh is synthetic and primarily it is made from polyester or polypropylene. These kinds of mesh are considered permanent, or non-absorbable, and remain in the body indefinitely to aid in reinforcement. In addition, the pores of the mesh allow tissue to grow into it and help support the repair. All mesh implants are secured with sutures, staples, or glue.
Absorbable mesh will degrade, dissolve, and lose strength over time. It is not intended for long-term use, but rather a short-term fix for patients who will develop new tissue to support the repair.
Animal derived hernia mesh is an absorbable type and comes from the skin or intestines of cows or pigs. It is processed and disinfected before use, and may be preferred by those not wanting a manufactured or synthetic implant.
Gore Dual Mesh (gore tex) is used in many types of hernia surgeries. It is remarkable in that each side is different. One side has a corduroy type finish to attract contact with tissue, and the other is a smooth surface which minimizes tissue attachment.
If you are considering or preparing to have a hernia repair, ask your surgeon what type of mesh they will be using and why.