"What is Mesh Used in Hernia Surgery?"

Posted by Mohan Phulchand Desarda on Fri, Aug 24, 2018  
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Hernia is a common disease that can affect any body from his childhood to old age. We need to stitch the shirt if it is torn, like wise we have to do surgery to get relief from this disease. Many times a small piece of cloth is used to repair the torn shirt, like wise this mesh is used to cover the weak spot of hernia or the hernia hole to repair it.

If your surgeon tells you that he will use a piece of your shirt or any other synthetic cloth after getting it sterilized for stitching on the hernia hole then you will never agree to his proposal. No body can think of this idea because you are sure and afraid that a piece of cloth can not be stitched inside your body and to do so is inviting lots of problems and trouble for your life time. You are aware that even if you take out the thorn, a small particle of it remaining inside the body forms a big corn, it pains for years and gets infected any time even after years.                                             

Then what is mesh that is used routinely by almost all the surgeons during hernia operation? Every body imagines that mesh must be some special material prepared by the companies for hernia surgery and it must be safe in all respects for our body. In reality, it is not so. It is a simple cloth prepared from synthetic threads of polypropylene, polyethylene or prolene or some other such synthetic material. If companies had made it known to all that this is a piece of synthetic cloth then no body would have accepted it for use in hernia surgery. Therefore, it was named with a special name like “Mesh” and sold in the market. A big cloth is prepared from those synthetic threads. Then it is cut into pieces of various sizes and shapes and then it is nicely packed, sterilized and then sold in the market at exorbitant price. It is estimated that companies are selling those meshes worth Rs. 1000 crores every year in India alone.


The mesh which is used today was brought in the market somewhere during 1990. But such meshes prepared from Dacron or Teflon were already used in many patients all over the world much before that. A famous surgeon from Pune, late Dr. Sulakhe and the author himself did use such pieces of cloth like Terene, Terylene etc available at that time around 1970-75 after due sterilization in many patients. But such operations were already rejected by the surgical community because of unacceptable rate of infection following its use in hernia surgery. In reality, those old meshes and today’s mesh both are prepared from synthetic threads and technically there is no difference between them. But because of improved sterilization techniques and availability of better and higher antibiotics after 1990 reduced this infection rate to a great extent and therefore its use in hernia surgery became rapidly popular. Another reason for this was the high rate of recurrence following hernia surgeries done with old techniques. But this does not mean that now there is no recurrence of hernia after it is repaired by using this mesh. Recurrence is still there following mesh repair and it is 7-8% in USA as per their studies. Though recurrence rate and infection rate is substantially brought down, another major problem following mesh repair of chronic groin pain still remains and it is 28-42% as per many studies.


Your shirt becomes alright as soon as it is stitched but this does not happen when this mesh is stitched on the weak spot or hernia hole. The mesh is a delicate cloth just like a mosquito net and therefore fails to give immediate protection following the surgery. A foreign body reaction starts in and around the mesh and a curtain of tissues is formed within couple of months just like a corn following thorn prick. Then it takes another 2-3 years for developing sufficient strength in this curtain so as to give real protection against reappearance of hernia. It means the patient is not protected for 2-3 years in spite of hernia surgery with mesh. And if he gets an attack of cough or sneezing etc. during this period then the mesh gets torn or displaced or stitches get avulsed resulting in reappearance of hernia. This mesh can also get crimpled or retract to a size that is 20-50% less increasing chances of recurrences. This is seen in many more cases in India because the mesh routinely used in hernia is of low quality to save on the cost. Therefore, the rate of recurrence seen in India is much more than what is seen in USA.

These mosquito net like meshes when used for hernia repairs have made lives of many patients miserable. Many patients from USA and other countries have posted on the internet hernia forums their story of miserable life after mesh repairs. Specialists and specialty clinics are established in USA who does the only job of removing the mesh or treating the chronic groin pain syndrome. Recurrence, infection or pain following mesh surgery requires much larger, difficult and commanding operation to take out the mesh again for getting relief.

“Dr. Desarda Repair” is a new invention by Dr Desarda from Pune, which is a groin hernia operation without mesh. A strip of a strong near by muscles is stitched on the weak spot or the hernia hole instead of mesh. Therefore, protection starts on the operation table itself. This operation does not require general anesthesia, it is done under local or spinal anesthesia. Patient is admitted in the morning and taken for surgery immediately after preparation. Time required for surgery is average 30 minutes and patient can be on his foot as soon as anesthesia effect is gone. Normally patient goes to pass urine on his own within 4-5 hours and he is freely mobile in the wards same day night or next day morning ready to get discharged and go home. There are no restrictions on his movements or food intake. He can drive car and go to office, can climb a staircase, can carry luggage and travel, squat and sit down without much pain within 2-3 days. He is asked to carry his normal routine work as soon as possible and as per his tolerance. So, patient gets high level of satisfaction after this new operation technique. Dr. Desarda has operated on more than 1500 patients till today by this new technique and all of them are well and without any recurrence till today. All foreign patients coming to Indian Hernia Institute go back to their country on third day carrying their luggage and a journey of 20-22 hours without any difficulty. The most important quality of this operation is that there is virtually no recurrence or pain. This operation is spreading quite rapidly all around the globe and today it is being followed in many countries.


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