To Use or Not to Use Mesh, That is the Question

When a surgeon chooses to use mesh, the mesh (or plastic) is used as a patch to cover the hole in the muscles. The mesh can be can be inserted with a laparoscope, so that it patches the hole on the inner surface or the deep side. Or the mesh can be placed through an incision in your skin, in which case the mesh or patch is on the outside of the hole in the muscles.

Either way, mesh repair leaves a foreign object in your body. A layer of scar tissue developments around the mesh. The scar tissue causes the mesh to become stiff and hard, thus unable to move with your body when you bend and twist. It’s the perfect storm for causing pain. Severe pain can also result when a nerve or the spermatic cord becomes scarred to the mesh. When a nerve damaged by the mesh there is a chronic burning in the skin that gets worse with activity. If the spermatic cord is damaged by the mesh, then sex can become so painful that you would rather watch “Say Yes to the Dress” than have sex with your wife.

Chronic pain (pain lasting six months or more) is reported to be 16 percent among patients with mesh hernia repair. To alleviate the pain, many patients undergo a second surgery to remove the mesh from the hernia site, but even these patients report feeling only 80 percent better after mesh removal surgery.

Some surgeons’ argument for mesh repair is that it better strengthens the area and cuts down your chances for a second hernia. But that argument doesn’t hold water since the odds of another hernia is 3 percent with mesh repair and 4 percent with non-mesh repair.

Is a 1 percent difference in having a second hernia worth risking a 16 percent chance for chronic pain, painful exercise and burning sensations with ejaculation? Dr. Brown certainly doesn’t think so, which is why he performs non-mesh hernia repair.

Non-mesh repair requires the surgeon to suture the hole in the muscle through a small incision. Since your own tissues are used to close the hole, nothing foreign is left behind to cause scarring or the many other problems associated with mesh.

Hernia repair should help you and not create a bigger problem. The risk of chronic pain is far too high in Dr. Brown’s professional opinion to use mesh.

Learn more about Dr. Brown’s approach to hernia repair without mesh. Contact Dr. Brown today.