Biologic mesh (aka biomesh) is organic material used for surgical hernia repairs. Pig skin, pig guts, cow skin, cow hearts and thigh muscles of human cadavers are examples of bio mesh.
Another material surgeons use to repair hernias is synthetic mesh. Either in the form of woven or non-woven sheets, synthetic mesh is most often derived from polypropylene, which is a plastic.
As with any surgery, there are inherent risks. But when it comes to hernia surgery, it’s not the operation that can cause potential harm but rather the material used in the operation. Defective hernia mesh has been at the center of nearly 15,000 lawsuits (as of October 2020 according to DrugWatch.com).
Faulty mesh can lead to several health problems, including chronic pain, infections, hernia recurrence, abscess, fistula, bowel obstruction, and migration of the mesh to other organs, causing other damage.
According to a study in the January 2021 volume of Annals of Surgery, bio mesh is associated with higher rates of complication than synthetic mesh. The study co-authors concluded, “The use of Surgisis Gold biological mesh is not recommended for noncomplex ventral hernia repair.”
According to ConsumerNotice.org, Surgisis is one of 477 brands of hernia mesh that was marketed in the U.S. from 1976 to 2015. Cook Medical, one of 14 major hernia mesh manufacturers, owns the Surgisis brand.
Although other studies support mesh repairs over sutures to resolve pain and prevent hernia recurrence, “the use of biological mesh resulted in significantly more complications also after adjusting for hernia type, body mass index, and study site.”
In fact, the trial involving 253 patients was prematurely stopped “due to an unacceptable high recurrence rate in the biological mesh arms.”
[Read the study abstract here.]