Hernias – The Role of Mesh:

In recent months,  there has been considerable controversy regarding the use of mesh, mainly for incontinence surgery in women. However, this controversy has spilled over into the area of hernia surgery, with many patients voicing their concern regarding the possibility of post operative infection or chronic pain. This has been highlighted in the press, and indeed some surgeons have advocated against the use of mesh.

We would however like to reassure our patients and referring doctors about the safety of using mesh. We have studied our results over a 5 year period. The incidence of infection and chronic pain was extremely low following our surgery. These results have been published in peer-reviewed journals and have been presented at international meetings.

We would like to point out that in our technique we use a lightweight polypropylene mesh (which incidentally is about 1 third of the size of that used in laparoscopic or key-hole surgery). The mesh is not sutured but instead it is glued into position, thus reducing the risk of nerve injury. An antibiotic is given at the time of surgery to reduce the possibility of infection.

Our local anaesthetic technique has been used in over 20,000 hernia operations. We believe that this technique itself is a factor in reducing the risk of early and prolonged pain. Moreover, it has enabled well over 80% of our patients to be treated as day cases. The results came to the attention of a large health insurer who asked us to provide information on our methods so that they could be emulated by other surgeons.

There are of course risks associated with any type of surgery, but the technique we have used has stood the test of time, with minimal problems. We are thus able to reassure our patients.