When it comes to hernia surgery patients can take comfort in the fact mesh can be used without fear, with research showing no difference in pain rates when mesh or sutures are used for repair, The Hernia Clinic’s Ross Roberts says.
An experienced surgeon specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of hernias, Ross explains there has been much controversy in the media regarding the use of mesh in gynaecological procedures, causing unnecessary widespread stress and anxiety for patients undergoing hernia surgery. “Media coverage has unfortunately brought the good results of mesh hernia repair into disrepute by categorising all mesh operations as the same,” Ross states. Published newspaper reports have highlighted associated risks of infection, erosion and chronic pain but haven’t addressed the real issue which is the anatomical placement of the mesh itself, he says.
“The use of mesh for abdominal and groin hernia repair is safe. Most reported problems relate to the location of the material and not the material itself. “The use of polypropylene (the most common type of mesh) is not a new material and has been used for hernia surgery since the early 1990s. The use of mesh in surgery to repair inguinal or groin hernias is well established here in New Zealand (and internationally) and is considered the procedure of choice.”
A systematic review published in 2018 concluded that there was “no difference in chronic pain rates when comparing non mesh repairs with open and laparoscopic mesh repairs”. The team at the Christchurch-based Hernia Clinic is widely experienced in all forms of hernia repair including keyhole and the more traditional surgical techniques. Clinic staff always survey their patients and seek feedback following surgery. “We are confident that it’s safe and that’s the conclusion we have reached after surveying our patients after surgery.”
Hernias are particularly common disorders, especially in men, and can only be successfully treated by surgical repair. The past requirement for prolonged time away from work and exercise following surgical hernia repair no longer applies today.
For ventral hernias with fascial defects greater than 2cm in diameter and all adult groin hernias, mesh should be used to reinforce the tissue repair. If not, the hernia recurrence rate without mesh is unacceptably high. “Mesh can significantly reduce hernia recurrence rates.”
Information regarding hernia repair options is available freely on request. Contact The Hernia Clinic on 03 961 6666 or email