A new medical study has found that hernia mesh surgical patients may have a reduced risk of hernia recurrence but may experience an increased risk over time of complications from the implanted mesh device.
The study’s author, Dunja Kokotovic, published his findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Surgery and presented at the 2016 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.
“In this registry-based nationwide cohort study including 3,242 patients, mesh repair was associated with a lower risk of reoperation for recurrence compared with nonmesh repair over a 5-year follow-up period,” study authors wrote. “However, a risk of long-term mesh-related complications for open and laparoscopic mesh repairs partially offset these benefits.”
The rate of serious complications increased over the course of five years. Out of the 3,242 study participants, 1,050 required subsequent abdominal surgery. Major complications included bowel obstruction, perforation and bleeding. Other serious complications included pain, non-healing wounds, infections, fluid buildup and organs fused together (fitulas). Larger pieces of mesh increased the risk of complications.
While the surgical mesh may have been successful in reducing the recurrence of hernias, the serious complications associated with the surgically implanted mesh should give physicians pause concerning its use.
The surgical mesh procedure remains the standard procedure for fixing hernias yet the new findings have led some physicians to question the mesh’s efficacy.
Dr. Kamal Itani of the VA Boston Healthcare System published commentary on the study in JAMA.
“These data suggest that the risk–benefit ratio of mesh is not as clear as previously thought,” Itani wrote. “This calls into question the current practice of liberal use of mesh, even for repair of small hernias, when mesh is the norm for all incisional hernia repairs of any size. This finding supports previous calls to reconsider the use of mesh for smaller hernia defects.”
If you’ve suffered any of these mesh complications or required additional abdominal surgery to fix a surgical mesh, please feel free to contact Attorney Joseph Saunders for a free initial consultation.
Photo Credit by BruceBlaus, via Wikimedia Commons