Study Shows Differences in Mesh Materials for Hernia Repair

Reprinted with permission from Instron® TechNotes

Twenty years ago a patient undergoing hernia surgery would be marked by a noticeable scar, endure a long recovery time, and according to a medical study, up to 20% of these patients would experience a recurrent hernia. Due to medical advancements, hernia surgery is now less invasive, has a quicker recovery time, and decreased risk of recurrence (less than 1%). What is this magical medical advancement? Laparoscopic surgery.

According to Dr. Corey Deeken, former director of the Biomedical Engineering and Biomaterials Laboratory at Washington University’s School of Medicine, it is important for surgeons to choose an appropriate prosthetic mesh material when performing laparoscopic hernia repair.

“In the world of hernia repair, there are so many materials and pre-formed sizes available for surgeons to choose from,” Deeken said. “The mesh that is right for a particular patient and type of repair may not be the best choice for the next patient.” Deeken, a biomedical engineer, wants to give surgeons more standardized information to compare when choosing what is best for their patients. This includes a recent project to characterize the properties of a variety of mesh materials available for hernia repair applications. During this project, Deeken and her team used a tensile testing system to measure the biomechanical properties of more than 25 different hernia repair materials using techniques such as suture retention and tear testing, as well as standard uniaxial and mesh strength testing. Deeken hopes to present the data from this study at an upcoming surgical conference to make surgeons aware of differences in the biomechanical properties of hernia repair materials.

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