Choice of mesh for laparoscopic ventral hernia repair

J R Eriksen, I Gögenur, J Rosenberg
Hernia: the Journal of Hernias and Abdominal Wall Surgery 2007, 11 (6): 481-92

BACKGROUND: Surgical treatment of ventral hernias has changed dramatically over the past decades by the introduction of laparoscopy and prosthetic biomaterials for reinforcement of the abdominal wall. There are many meshes available on the market for laparoscopic ventral hernia repair (LVHR), and new meshes are introduced regularly. Experimental and clinical documentation for safety and efficacy are, however, often not available for the clinician. The choice of mesh may therefore be difficult in clinical practice. We present a review of the current literature regarding safety measures such as adhesions, fistulas, and infections as well as the available data on pain, recurrence, mesh shrinkage, and seroma formation after LVHR.

METHODS: The literature was searched systematically using PubMed/MEDLINE and EMBASE for controlled studies, prospective descriptive series and retrospective case series.

RESULTS: The literature clearly points in the direction of very few mesh-related complications after LVHR. Experimental studies and theoretical considerations may argue for using a covered mesh, i.e., a composite mesh, or ePTFE for LVHR in humans, although it is important to stress that there are no human data at the moment to support this. Concerns about using pure polypropylene mesh in the intraperitoneal position may be re-evaluated with the experience of lightweight macropore meshes from open surgery in mind. There is a tendency towards greater shrinkage in ePTFE-based meshes but no differences seems to exist between different mesh materials in other relevant outcome parameters from clinical series.

CONCLUSIONS: The literature cannot give general recommendations for choice of mesh based on randomized controlled trials. The final choice of mesh for LVHR will therefore typically be based on surgeons' preference and cost while we await further data from randomized controlled clinical trials.

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