Hernia Repair With Mesh or No Mesh?

There are two basic methods to repair a hernia. The first method uses sutures to repair the hernia through an incision. The second method of repair involves placing a piece of mesh to patch the hole. The mesh can be placed on the deep side of the hernia using a laparoscope, or the mesh can be placed to cover the outside of the hernia using an incision.

The argument for a hand-sewn repair (i.e., no mesh), is that there is no foreign body placed in the body. It is common for people to develop scar tissue around the mesh. This fibrosis causes the mesh to become stiff and hard. Then when you bend and twist, and the mesh does not bend and twist with you, the sheer stresses causes pain. Sometimes one of the nerves or spermatic cord gets stuck to the mesh, and severe pain can result. Then exercise becomes impossible because of pain, and ejaculation causes a severe burning sensation in the spermatic cord and testicle. Chronic pain after mesh hernia repairs affects 15% of patients. A significant number of those patients with pain have to have the mesh removed with another operation. Even after removing the mesh, the patient is often only about 80% better. Most Surgeons argue for the use of mesh because of the lower recurrence rate. But their argument is flawed. If you look at the numbers, the chance for a recurrent hernia after a mesh repair is 3%. The chance for a recurrent hernia after a non-mesh repair is about 4%. But to achieve this 1% lower recurrence rate the patient runs about a 16% chance of chronic pain. 

I strongly feel that since the risk of chronic pain from the mesh is so much higher than the recurrence rate that the best hernia repair is the suture repairs. No Mesh!

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

William Brown, MD
Hernia Specialist

Dr. Brown has been repairing inguinal hernias for over 30 years, taking care of Athletes with Sports Hernia injuries since 1999.  Dr. Brown has been taking care of patients with complications from mesh for so long that his hair is gray. Luckily he still has some hair.

His patients include players from the San Jose Sharks and the San Jose Earthquakes as well as athletes from the NFL, AFL, NBA, and the local college teams. As well as Athletes from 15 foreign countries.

Fremont Office
William H. Brown, M.D.
39470 Paseo Padre Pkwy
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 793-2404
Fax: (510) 793-1320

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Sign up for our newsletter and join our growing subscriber base.