The Problems with Using Mesh for Hernia Repair Surgery

Things you Need to  Know

Your hernia has been diagnosed and now the journey back to your old self can begin. The next step is choosing the right surgeon who is experienced in the type of hernia repair that you prefer. There are two basic methods your surgeon can use to repair your hernia. One of them uses sutures and your own tissues to close the hole. The other involves using mesh to “patch” the hole.

“Patching” a hole in theory is a great idea. However, if you’ve ever been disappointed by how well a patch really works in the long run then you’ll understand why Dr. William Brown uses the suture method to repair his patients’ hernias. Remember the blow-up plastic baby pools that come with a plastic patch should the pool get a hole in it? That patch may stop the air and/or water from leaking in the short term, but rarely does it work well for very long.

When mesh is used to repair a hernia, it is either inserted with a laparoscope and positioned so that it patches the hole on the inner surface or the deep side, or it is placed through an incision in the skin on the outer (superficial) side of the hole.

The problems with using mesh to repair an inguinal hernia include:

Mesh is a foreign substance and your body can develop scar tissue around the mesh as a defense against it. Scar tissue can cause the mesh to become stiff, which you’ll feel every time you twist and bend. The mesh doesn’t necessarily twist and bend with you, and the resulting stress can cause pain.

A nerve or the spermatic cord can attach to the mesh, and you can imagine the severity of the pain should that occur. If this happens, your ability to exercise dwindles due to the discomfort. Also, ejaculation brings on a burning sensation in the spermatic cord and testicle.

Mesh hernia repairs come with as high as a 16 percent report of chronic pain. In cases of chronic pain associated with post-hernia repairs using mesh, many patients opt to have the mesh removed. And of those patients, approximately 80 percent of them report that the chronic pain is alleviated.

The risk of a hernia recurrence is too low to substantiate using mesh to make the repair “stronger.” Mesh repairs have a 3 percent rate of reinjury. Non-mesh, suture repairs have a 4 percent rate. Using mesh only lowers the risk by 1 percent yet comes with a 16 percent risk for chronic pain post-surgery.

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

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