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What are the complications of a hernia mesh implant?

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Quick Answer

The most common complications of hernia mesh implants include pain, infection, hernia recurrence, adhesion and bowel obstruction, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Other potential complications include mesh migration and mesh shrinkage.

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Many complications associated with hernia mesh implants are related to recalled mesh products that are no longer on the market, reports the FDA. Investigations reveal that recalled mesh products are the major culprits behind bowel perforation and obstruction complications.

Hernia repairs often include the use of surgical mesh as an addition to sutures for additional reinforcement. The use of surgical mesh can help reduce operative time and recovery time, and it can also decrease the chances of the hernia problem returning in the future, according to the FDA. Despite the benefits relating to the use of surgical mesh, there are situations in which omitting it may be preferable. Aspects specific to the patient's situation, such as the patient's condition and the type of hernia, help determine the best options for hernia repair.

Manufacturers construct surgical mesh from either synthetic materials or processed, disinfected animal tissues, according to the FDA. The synthetic materials can be absorbable, non-absorbable or a combination of both, while the animal tissues are always absorbable. Absorbable mesh degrades over time as the body grows new tissues to naturally strengthen the repair, while non-absorbable mesh remains in the body indefinitely to provide permanent reinforcement to the repair.

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