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Mesh Removal After Hernia Surgery

Well over 90% of all hernias are repaired with mesh. This is because mesh offers a level of strength that reduces the incidence of recurrence dramatically. Mesh repairs have been performed for decades and have proven extremely effective and well tolerated. Indeed, newer meshes have made this stellar record even better of late.

However, there are rare risks associated with mesh implantation:

  • The patient may have a significant foreign body reaction that can lead to infection, which ultimately may cause the primary hernia repair to fail
  • Over time, the mesh may migrate from its original position causing pain in the surrounding area
  • The mesh may erode into a nearby organ causing significant discomfort or pain and requiring reoperation
  • Finally, if the mesh is placed improperly, it can entrap nerves and cause significant chronic pain, and possibly a recurrence

In these cases, and some others, when conservative treatment options have been exhausted, mesh removal may be indicated. However, the removal of mesh is a complex an intricate procedure that carries additional risk.

Mesh removal will usually require the rebuilding of the abdominal wall. This is typically performed with a plastic surgeon in addition to the general surgeon. Surgery to rebuild the abdominal wall is typically very successful and further strengthens the hernia repair against recurrence.  Of course, there are some inherent risks of this procedure, which will be explained during consultation.

Patients experiencing discomfort because of a past hernia repair with mesh should know that there are several treatment options available that are more conservative than mesh removal. These options can be discussed with a general surgeon, such as those at WSA, that has experience with complications after hernia repair.

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