Side effects of Hernia Mesh, Hernia mesh Complications, What are the Signs and Symptoms od Hernia Mesh Failure, Can Hernia Mesh cause Infection, What happens if the hernia mesh gets infected? Can hernia mesh get infected years later? Can Hernia Mesh Cause Groin Pain, Testicular Pain after Hernia Surgery, these are some of the commonly asked questions by patients who undergo Hernia Surgery. Dr. Parthasarathy answers all these questions.

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What are the Side Effects of Hernia Mesh?

In this video, we will address a very important question we get asked every time we advise a patient that they have to undergo a hernia surgery. And this question is – sir, they say when you put a mesh for a hernia operation, there can be so many problems because of the mesh. And that is why I don’t want a mesh. Can you do an Hernia operation without a mesh? So this mesh in a hernia operation is an extremely useful innovation which drastically and dramatically increases the success rate of hernia repairs. But these meshes have their own share of problems. But luckily, the problems we face because of mesh is much rare. So today, in this video, let us see what can go wrong when you use a mesh to repair a hernia.

Hernia Mesh Infection?

The most important dreaded complication when using a mesh to repair a hernia is the risk of infection. Meaning the mesh is a foreign body. It does not belong to our human body. It is a foreign object which is kept inside the human body and stitched. This means the mesh does not or will not have the normal blood supply like every other part of the body has.

In any other part of the body when an infection is introduced, the immune cell and the antibiotic medicines are immediately sent to that part through the blood vessels, and these help in fighting the infection and the infection is cured. But when a foreign prosthetic material is kept, like a mesh or an implant or a rod for a fracture, there is no blood supply. So the bacteria in case they get lodged into the mesh, are completely protected from the antibiotics or the body’s natural immunity. So whatever medicines you give cannot reach the mesh. This is the reason once the mesh gets infected, it is very difficult to cure that infection. So many times, the antibiotics do not work. And the only cure for this would be to re-operate and remove the mesh altogether.

So this is a dreaded complication but luckily, in good hands and in good standard hernia repair centres and taking good precautions after hernia repair surgery, the chance of a mesh infection happening is extremely rare, to the extent of less than one percent. See in most places, hernia operation is extremely safe with a very very low risk of mesh infection.

Testicular Pain After Hernia Surgery/Hernia Mesh Pain

The second important problem which has been described when you use a mesh for the repair of hernia is long term nerve pain or neuralgia. It is also called chronic groin pain where when the mesh is placed in the groin region, how does the mesh work? When the mesh is placed, the body secretes a lot of collagen or body cement and fills the mesh. It is like a TMT bar which we use to construct a building and concrete is poured onto it. Exactly the same way the body cement or collagen is poured over the mesh and that builds a very strong wall, which helps to prevent the hernia from occurring again. When this collagen is formed on the mesh, this is basically scar tissue.

There are a lot of nerves around the groin region. The nerves can get trapped into this scar tissue or the body cement and they can get repeatedly irritated. when this happens, the nerves can start firing erratically and the patient can experience numbness, tingling or sometimes even pain in the region where these nerves supply, especially in the Inguinal hernia repair patients can complain of pain or tingling in the scrotum region in the inner thigh. This also is very rare and in the era of laparoscopic hernia repair, the incidence of this sort of chronic groin pain and nerve irritation causing this pain has become extremely rare.

Hernia Mesh Failure

The next much rarer but more serious complication is mesh erosion. This means the mesh can sometimes start sticking to the nearby vital organs, significantly, the urinary bladder or the intestines and can start eating into that organ and create a hole in the organ. This is an extremely rare complication which happens in less than 0.1% of patients. But when this happens it needs a re-operation and the mesh has to be removed and the hole in the intestine or the vital organ has to be repaired.

Mesh vs. No Mesh Hernia Repair – Which is Better?

All these complications of mesh are not common at all. So this should not scare one when somebody says you need a mesh for hernia repair. You should not say no, no I have read that very serious things can happen because of mesh. I do not want a mesh. The benefits of a mesh are far far more important than the chances of these complications happening.

If the mesh is not used in cases of a hernia which actually needed a mesh, the chances of re-occurrences are very high. So the patient would end up coming repeatedly for hernia repairs. The advantages of using a mesh far outweigh these complications and in good centers, these are extremely low risk of having these complications. So the mere knowledge of these complications should not deter you from being scared of a mesh or trying to avoid getting a mesh for a hernia repair. 

If you are looking for an effective treatment for Hernia, then get in touch with us via email or phone call. Our specialist, Dr. Parthasarathy is one of the most renowned surgical gastroenterologists in Hyderabad, India. He has about 15 years of experience and has performed 3000+ advanced laparoscopic procedures, also he performs more than a hundred successful surgeries for Hernia every year.

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February 2023