About Hernia Mesh | The Gori Law Firm
The Gori Law Firm

About Hernia Mesh

What Is Hernia Mesh?

Hernia mesh is a medical device comprised of either synthetic materials (e.g., polypropylene) or animal-derived materials (e.g., tissue, intestine, skin) that is implanted in the human body to repair a hernia by providing support to tissue that is damaged or has been weakened. A hernia is a protrusion of an organ, fatty tissue, or part of the intestine through a hole or weak spot in the surrounding muscle or tissue. Hernias are often caused by a combination of pressure in the abdominal cavity in conjunction with an opening or weak area in the tissue or muscle. A hernia may be visible externally as a bulge or sac, most likely in the abdominal area. There are several different types of hernias classified by the location of the protrusion:

  • Inguinal (inner groin)
  • Umbilical (belly button)
  • Ventral (ventral wall)
  • Femoral (upper thigh/outer groin)
  • Hiatal (upper stomach/diaphragm)
  • Incisional (incision or scar)

Hernia repairs are a common occurrence with over one million performed annually in the United States alone. Of these, the most common repair is of inguinal hernias, which account for approximately 800,000 of the one million repairs. The only treatment to repair a hernia is surgery. There are two surgical options for patients—laparoscopic surgery in which surgical tools are manipulated through small incisions in the abdomen and open repair in which a larger incision is made near the hernia site. Both surgical procedures can be performed with or without the application of hernia mesh. The potential benefits of using hernia mesh may include a reduction in operating time, recovery time, and hernia recurrence rate.

When Is Hernia Mesh Medically Indicated?

Hernia mesh is medically indicated as a treatment for the surgical repair of a hernia. Hernia mesh is implanted in the human body as a means of providing temporary or permanent support to damaged or weakened tissue that has allowed an organ, tissue, or part of the intestine to extend beyond the cavity wall—most often the abdomen—where it resides. The main objective of implanting hernia mesh is to minimize the rate of recurrence of the hernia following surgical repair.

Is Hernia Mesh Permanent or Temporary?

Both, depending on the type of hernia mesh that is selected by the surgeon for implantation. Hernia mesh comprised of synthetic materials can be either absorbable, nonabsorbable, or a combination of both. Any hernia mesh that is nonabsorbable is permanent and intended to remain as an implant in the human body indefinitely with the aim of serving as a perpetual source of reinforcement to the surgical site of the repaired hernia. Hernia mesh that is classified as absorbable is temporary and intended to break down over time with the intention that the body will regenerate the tissue at the surgical site of the repaired hernia by the time the absorbable hernia mesh disintegrates, and that the newly formed tissue will be strong enough to maintain the repair.

Hernia mesh comprised of animal-derived materials, usually sourced from a pig or cow, is always classified as absorbable, and thus, is always intended to be a temporary implantation device that will degrade over time and not be a permanent fixture within the human body at the hernia repair site.

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