A guide for patients facing hernia surgery.
Q: What is a hernia?
A: A hernia is a hole in the abdominal wall through which abdominal contents (such as fat or intestines) can protrude, and are often visible as a lump under the skin.
Q: What is mesh?
A: Mesh is an implant used by your surgeon to improve the chances of a successful hernia repair. It is a sheet of material often used to reinforce a hernia repair. The mesh can be made from various materials, and can be permanent or dissolve over time. Decisions about which mesh to use, if any, are made with your surgeon, and depend on the location and size of the hernia.
Q: Why is mesh used?
A: Mesh is used to patch the hole in the abdominal wall (the hernia), similar to a patch used to repair a car tire. Many studies have been conducted that show that the use of mesh in hernia repair decreases the chance of the hernia coming back.
Q: Does my surgeon have to use mesh to repair my hernia?
A: Your surgeon may be able to repair your hernia without mesh, but it will depend on the size and location of your hernia, and other details of your specific case. There are many hernia repair techniques that can be performed both with and without mesh, and the final decision will be made by you and your surgeon.
Q: What are the risks and benefits of using mesh to repair my hernia?
A: The benefit is that mesh will reduce the chances of the hernia coming back. The risks, which are uncommon, of using mesh include: pain, infection, or damage to nearby structures. The risk of mesh related complications is very low, but unpredictable for any given individual. If a complication arises, it may require treatment with medication and/or surgery to repair any damage the mesh may have caused and to remove part or all of the mesh.
Q: Does mesh cause pain after my operation?
A: Some patients have pain after hernia surgery with mesh, but pain can also develop after hernia surgery without mesh. Studies have found equal numbers of patients with pain, regardless of whether or not mesh was used for the repair.
Q: Why are there commercials on TV for lawsuits concerning mesh usage?
A: There have been many different types of mesh used over the past thirty years. Some have been used for reasons other than hernia repair, like in pelvic floor reconstruction. You and your surgeon will make the decision about which mesh to use after careful consideration of your hernia and your risks as well as benefits of using mesh.
Brought to you by:SOCIETY OF AMERICAN GASTROINTESTINAL AND ENDOSCOPIC SURGEONS (SAGES)
11300 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90064
- (310) 437-0544
- February 19, 2022