What is a Hernia?
A hernia usually shows up as a abnormal ‘bump’ in the abdomen area. It is caused by the protrusion of an internal organ through an abnormal opening in the abdominal wall. Hernias can be painless for years and may become symptomatic suddenly leading to life threatening complications such as strangulation. The Society of Surgery for the Alimentary Tract recommends seeking surgical evaluation within one month of detection of a groin hernia.
The Hernia Mesh
Most of us have heard about meshes being used for hernia surgery. In principle, a mesh is a simple prosthetic sheet used to reinforce a repaired hernial defect. Hernia meshes have been in use for more than 50 years. Earlier, we had metal meshes such as tantalum. Then came the polypropylene mesh in the 1960s which was and is used frequently even today. Although polypropylene is time-tested, the problem is that it shrinks by almost 40-50% of its original size, leading to hernia recurrence by exposing the vulnerable area. Further, polypropylene meshes form a hard plate which patients occasionally complain about with stiffness or foreign body feeling when they move or bend.
Light Weight Mesh for Hernia Surgery
Modern hitech hernia surgery uses light weight meshes such as Ultrapro, the latest innovation in hernia mesh technology. Ultrapro is also made of polypropylene but in much lesser density and combined with another absorbable material called polyglecaprone. This enabled scientists to reduce shrinkage to just around 10%. Further, it improves comfort in patients, as the material stretches with the body muscles. Today we have more scientific data to prove light weight meshes improve outcomes in hernia surgery.