Study Recommends Lightweight Mesh for Hernia Repair

A recent study suggests that using lightweight mesh in open inguinal (groin) hernia repair is preferable to heavyweight mesh because it reduces the risk for chronic groin pain without increasing the risk for a recurrent hernia.

The study, which analyzed the results of nine published randomized trials conducted between 2004 and 2011, sought to determine whether the type of mesh used for the repair of groin hernias results in differences in outcome. Outcome measures included pain, recurrence, return to work time and testicular atrophy.

The study found no difference in duration of operation, postoperative pain, recurrence rate, testicular atrophy or return to work time. The chief finding was that lightweight mesh was associated with a reduced frequency of chronic groin pain and a slight but non-significant decrease in the long-term risk for recurrence in patients followed for more than one year.

At Premier, we have been using this lightweight mesh for more than five years.

This study is important, not because it provides us with any new or surprising information, but because the data now confirms what we believed were the positive benefits of using this lighter-weight mesh: less chronic groin pain and no loss of effectiveness.

The use of this more pliable mesh, however, does not eliminate risk, though it may lessen it. Previously, repairs made with the heavyweight mesh resulted in nearly 22 percent of patients experiencing chronic groin pain. The lightweight mesh reduces that risk to about 14 percent.

Chronic groin pain continues to be one of the most uncomfortable side effects of hernia surgery. But the results of this study confirm that we are continuing to make advances in minimizing this risk for hernia patients.

Study info: Sajid MS, Leaver C, Baig MK, Sains P. Lightweight versus Heavyweight mesh for open repair of inguinal hernia (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD009495. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009495.

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