Hernia mesh is a light, thin, web-like sheet, often woven from surgical grade plastic. It can also consist of bovine or porcine biologic material, or a combination of both synthetic and biologic material.
While mesh has been used for hernia repair since the 1940’s, it was first used in a laparoscopic hernia surgery in 1989 and has since become a common surgical remedy for both hernia repair and prevention.
Primary Hernia Mesh Injuries
As with any surgical procedure there are risks involved in hernia repair, whether it is laparoscopic or traditional. Besides the common risks such as infection, anesthesia side effects, or pain and swelling at the wound site there are also risks specific to medical devices, which is what surgical mesh is considered to be.
Hernia Mesh complications include:
- Rejection of the mesh
- Mesh shrinkage
- Mesh migration
- Nerve damage
- Bowel obstructions
- Bowel perforation
- Chronic enteric fistula
- Abdominal punctures
- Tissue or mesh erosion
- Need for additional surgeries (revision surgeries)
Recalled Hernia Mesh Brands
As of January, 2017 several brands of hernia mesh have been recalled:
More About Hernias
A hernia occurs when pressure causes part of an organ, usually the stomach or intestine, to protrude through weakened muscle or fascia. Anything from a hearty sneeze to improper lifting to being obese or pregnant can cause a hernia if enough pressure exists.
The most common causes are the excessive straining required during elimination when constipated, and a chronic cough – especially one due to smoking as it weakens, among other things, the blood vessels, the bladder, and the digestive organs. Hernias are not necessarily dangerous or life threatening, but if left untreated may worsen or even cause fatal infections. The most common types of hernias are:
a) Umbilical hernias, which can happen at birth or anytime through the first year or so. It often appears as if the belly button is swollen and usually resolves itself by the time the baby reaches around one year old but can take up until age five. It should be monitored by the child’s physician and observed by the parent for any significant changes.
b) Inguinal hernia occurs when a small bit of the bowel tissue swells through the inguinal passage and into the groin area. It is most common in males.
c) Hiatal hernia is present when the stomach pushes through the hiatal opening into the diaphragm.