It was supposed to be a medical breakthrough that would dramatically reduce the risk of recurrent hernias following a successful repair operation. However, some studies have cautioned that long-term studies present a mixed-picture in terms of effectiveness. Defective mesh products, particularly, can result in increased risk of hernia recurrence and other complications.
In this blog post I examine hernia recurrence, why subsequent hernia repair operations are less likely to be successful, and the role that defective hernia mesh can play in hernia recurrence.What Causes Hernia Recurrence?
The traditional form of hernia repair stitched together skin tissue where the hernia occurred. Recurrence was a relatively common problem because the tension caused by the suturing or the general weakness of the surrounding tissue could cause it break apart over time.
In theory, tension-free hernia mesh provides a greater amount of support for surrounding tissue during healing, reducing the risk of tears and re-opening of a hernia from strain. However, complications from defective hernia mesh created other heightened risks for recurrence.
An estimated 50 per cent of recurrent hernias are caused by infections. Infection of the tissue surrounding the repaired hernia can occur due to several factors; however, a foreign body inflammatory immune response to permanently implanted hernia mesh can be especially difficult to treat. A prolonged infection can create weakened scar tissue that is unable to withstand the pressure of the organ at the original hernia site causing it to recur.Complications From Defective Mesh Requiring Additional Surgeries
Clinical studies have found that tension-free hernia mesh does significantly reduce the risk of recurrent hernias within the first five years of observation. However, the number of patients with subsequent complications from defective mesh that required corrective surgery within a 10-year time frame was significant.
The authors of one major study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that "mesh implantation prevented the need for subsequent reoperation in relatively few patients, suggesting that the benefits associated with the use of mesh are partially offset by long-term complications associated with its use." The study found that with the passage of time "there were a progressively increasing number of mesh-related complications (such as bowel obstruction, bowel perforation, bleeding and late abscess) for both open and laparoscopic procedures."If At First You Don't Succeed, Trying Again Comes With Increased Risks
Additional surgeries – whether to repair recurrent hernias, or to remediate other complications – can increase risks for a patient. Statistics indicate that with every surgery for a hernia recurrence, the chances of an additional recurrence increase substantially. Weakened tissue, greater scarring from subsequent operations, and larger herniated areas create added difficulties for surgeons.What To Do If You Find Yourself In This Situation
If you or a loved one has had hernia mesh surgery and been told you require an additional operation to correct a recurrent hernia or other mesh-related complications, you may be a victim of defective hernia mesh.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.