Hernia Repair with Mesh or no Mesh?

Common concerns about hernia mesh include:


Some people worry about potential complications associated with hernia mesh.   However, it’s essential to recognize that while these risks exist, they are relatively rare. In fact, studies have shown that the majority of patients who undergo hernia repair with mesh experience successful outcomes with minimal complications.

Allergic Reaction

One complication patients worry about is the possibility of an allergic reaction.  There have been reports of allergic reactions to certain materials used in hernia mesh implants.  Certain products use coatings to prevent sticking of the mesh to intestine when place in the abdominal cavity.  Some products are derived from other biological sources that may have specific issues for a patient.  Most basic mesh product use polypropylene, which has been used for many years in both mesh and suture material without much problems.   Therefore, allergic reactions to hernia mesh are exceptionally rare. Most mesh materials are biocompatible and have been extensively tested for safety. Moreover, surgeons typically select mesh materials based on the patient’s medical history and potential allergies to minimize this risk.


Some individuals are concerned about the possibility of hernia recurrence following mesh repair. While hernia recurrence can occur with any type of hernia repair, studies have consistently shown that the use of mesh significantly reduces the risk of recurrence compared to non-mesh repairs. Mesh provides additional support to the weakened abdominal wall, decreasing the likelihood of the hernia recurring.

Mesh Migration

Properly placed mesh should not migrate, but migration is one of the risks of hernia repair.  There have been incidents of mesh migrating or eroding into bowel, especially when used for repair for prolapse.  These materials have been recalled and haven’t been used for typical hernia repairs.


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.


Facts that may help reassure one’s concerns:


Extensive Research and Testing:

Hernia mesh materials undergo rigorous testing before being approved for use in surgical procedures. Manufacturers conduct clinical trials and studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of their products. Additionally, regulatory agencies like the FDA reviews these studies to ensure that hernia mesh meets stringent safety standards before being made available to patients.

Individualized Approach:

Surgeons consider various factors when selecting the appropriate type of hernia mesh for each patient, including the size and location of the hernia, the patient’s medical history, and any potential allergies. By tailoring the choice of mesh to the individual patient, surgeons can minimize the risk of complications, including allergic reactions.

Advancements in Surgical Techniques:

Surgeons have refined hernia repair techniques over the years, leading to improved outcomes and reduced complication rates. Minimally invasive approaches, such as laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgeries, allow for smaller incisions, less tissue trauma, and faster recovery times. Additionally, ongoing research and innovation continue to drive advancements in hernia repair technology, further enhancing patient safety and outcomes.

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