With surgery, the fewer foreign objects placed inside your body, the better. Although it’s less than ideal, some surgeries put certain materials into your body that support soft tissues and aid healing.
For many years, hernia repair surgery was one such procedure, requiring mesh placement over a hernia to support surrounding tissues and protect exposed organs. However, advancements in medical technology and technique have made mesh unnecessary in some hernia surgeries, enabling the possibility of no mesh hernia repair.
Continue reading to learn more about the dangers of hernia mesh and how no mesh hernia repair can benefit you!
What Is Hernia Mesh?
Hernia mesh is a surgical device that supports damaged tissue around healing hernias. The mesh is either a flat sheet of prosthetic material placed over the top of the hernia site, a plug that fits inside the hernia site or a patch that goes over or under the damaged tissue.
The most commonly used material is plastic, although some options include biodegradable or animal-derived materials. When you have a hernia, part of an organ protrudes through muscle tissue, creating a hole of sorts. The mesh covers this hole to protect the herniated organ and support the muscle tissue.
Mesh hernia repairs have been around for over 50 years. Initially, they were a positive development from the previous method of suturing hernias closed, which had a high recurrence rate. Still, mesh hernia repair is far from a perfect method, as many patients have experienced complications and other safety issues with this approach.
In response, newer and safer techniques have arisen in recent years. These methods have fewer complication risks, shorter recovery times and lower recurrence rates.
What Are the Problems With Hernia Mesh?
Before looking at safer hernia repair methods, it’s helpful to examine the problems with hernia mesh. Here are some common questions and concerns about hernia mesh repair and the specific issues that have arisen with this device.
Is Hernia Mesh Safe?
Hernia mesh is an FDA-approved procedure for treating most hernias. It’s relatively safe, but relatively safe isn’t ideal when it comes to surgical procedures. Although most patients experience no complications with hernia mesh repair, enough patients do. Thus, its safety is justifiably questioned, especially when safer practices exist.
Any time a foreign object is placed inside a person’s body, there are risks. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of hernia mesh devices have been recalled due to safety issues over the years. Those devices are no longer on the market, but they point to further issues with hernia mesh.
Does Hernia Mesh Dissolve?
There are two main types of hernia mesh — absorbable and non-absorbable.
Absorbable mesh dissolves over time, temporarily reinforcing the hernia until dissolving. Non-absorbable mesh is a permanent implant that permanently reinforces the herniated area. A doctor may use non-absorbable mesh if a patient has a high risk of recurrence.
How Long Does Hernia Mesh Last?
On average, absorbable mesh lasts five years. The specific amount of time that hernia mesh lasts for each patient depends on the mesh type and potential complications.
How Long Is the Recovery With Hernia Mesh Repair?
Hernia mesh repair is typically an outpatient surgery, meaning patients can return home the same day of the procedure. The total recovery time for hernia mesh repair can take anywhere from four to six weeks.
Patient health impacts the recovery time length. If complications occur, it can take a full year for healing to occur. Most patients can manage any pain they experience during the recovery period with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. It’s common to experience pain for two weeks after the procedure.
After returning home from a hernia mesh repair procedure, doctors typically tell patients to:
- Avoid showering or getting the surgical site wet for at least one day after the surgery
- Stay home from work and perform only basic functions for one to four days after surgery, depending on the patient’s condition
- Avoid driving or drinking alcohol for two to three days after surgery
- Perform light stretching and walking within four to seven days of surgery but avoid lifting anything over 15 pounds
- Resume full activity after four to six weeks
What Is the Percentage of Hernia Mesh Complications?
A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study found the hernia mesh repair complication rate to be 5.6%. With that complication rate, researchers suggest that the potential complications partially offset hernia mesh repair benefits.
Complication Symptoms With Hernia Mesh Repair
According to the FDA, the most common complications associated with hernia mesh repair include:
- Hernia recurrence
- Adhesion, or scar-like tissue sticking different tissues together
- Intestinal obstruction, or blockage of the large or small intestines
- Fistulas, or abnormal connections between intestines, organs or vessels
- Seroma, or fluid build-up at the surgical site
- Perforation, or holes in surrounding organs or tissues
Process for Getting Started With No Mesh Hernia Repair
Several methods have arisen to reduce the medical reliance on mesh products. These approaches have been shown to repair hernias with varying effectiveness. At U First Health & Rejuvenation, we use the cutting-edge Desarda technique for most repairs. Instead of using a foreign object, the Desarda technique uses the patient’s muscle tissue. The muscle tissue covers the hernia site and supports surrounding tissues. In this way, there is no risk of rejection associated with surgical mesh.
Surgical mesh inflicts significant tension upon the hernia site by pulling the edges together to close it. Comparatively, the muscle tissue with Desarda hernia repair acts as a bridge between the surrounding muscular tissue. In this way, the Desarda technique minimizes uncomfortable tension during surgery. The muscle used to conduct Desarda hernia repair is the muscle covering the groin, known as the external oblique aponeurosis.
Desarda hernia repair is a flat-rate procedure. Thus, you don’t have to haggle with insurance companies when having this procedure done. All you need is to pay the required fee, and you’ll receive this safe and effective hernia treatment. Doctors use the Desarda technique for inguinal hernia repair.
Schedule a Free Consultation With U First Health & Rejuvenation!
U First Health & Rejuvenation is the only certified Desarda Hernia Center of the United States®. Our doctors have over 20 years of experience. If you have an inguinal hernia and want to learn more about Desarda, we’d be happy to schedule a free consultation with you either in-person or over the phone.