Although hernia repair meshes have long been associated with complications, multiple sources have projected robust growth in the marketplace over the coming several years.  The most optimistic estimates have the size of the markets reaching $9.5 billion by 2025. Even the more conservative estimates still project sustained growth in revenue for the overall space.

hernia repair mesh market

Currently, the size of the hernia repair mesh market is estimated at just over $4 billion. The market is expanding, both in terms of numbers of procedures in which mesh is used as well as the cost of the mesh that is implanted.  While hernia meshes have earned a negative reputation due to the side effects that some of them have caused and a string of litigation, the overall category is far from monolithic. In other words, there are many different types of meshes beyond the polypropylene products that have caused the bulk of the side effects.

Synthetic mesh

Traditional hernia meshes have been made out of synthetic materials. Many of these are composed of a type of plastic. The meshes that are composed of synthetic materials have been warranted to be biologically inert. However, this has not always been the case, and patients who have received this type of mesh have been susceptible to developing infection. In some cases, patients need emergency surgery to remove the mesh and implant a new mesh.

biological mesh

Recently, there has been a growing sector of the market that has been devoted to biological meshes. As opposed to being made from plastic, these products are made out of live tissue. Biological meshes are largely composed of animal tissue and are not meant to be a permanent implant.  Instead, they are absorbable, meaning that they degrade over time as the muscle around it strengthens. Since they are not made out of synthetic materials, they make the patient less prone to develop an infection. In addition, there is no mesh that can fail since the mesh disintegrates over time naturally, as opposed to a premature failure of the mesh.

The flip side of biological meshes is that they do cost more than synthetic meshes since they are more expensive to manufacture. Makers have been searching for a way to bring the cost down in order to make the mesh more affordable. Nevertheless, use of biological mesh has been increasing, especially as concerns over hernia mesh litigation have intensified.  Another benefit or biological mesh is that surgeries that are performed with it have a lower rate of recidivism.  Since the mesh degrades and the muscles strengthen, there is no need for a follow-up surgery if the mesh moves in place or fails. Market participants are willing to pay more for a safer product. The shift to usage of a more expensive product has increased the overall revenue of the segment and will continue to do so in the next several years.

Prevalence of hernias

Another factor that is causing the market for hernia meshes to grow is an increased prevalence of hernias around the world.  In the United States, the baby boomer population is aging and are more susceptible to hernias as they get older. Globally, standards of living are increasing, leading to a higher life expectancy in many countries. The increase in older people leads to more hernias internationally as well. Older people are more susceptible to inguinal hernias, which is the most common type of hernia operation necessary. In addition, rising living standards around the world mean that more people have the ability to have surgery to fix the hernia.

Obesity increases the risk factors for a hernia operation

In addition, growing rates of obesity around the world continue to fuel a growth in the market. Obesity increases the risk factors for a hernia operation. Beyond obesity, a lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle can cause a hernia. As the global population is in worse physical shape, the rate of hernias has steadily increased. Finally, while hernia meshes have been in use in the United States since the 1950s, technology in the rest of the world is beginning to catch up, and this means that surgeries internationally are making greater use of hernia mesh.

Bard Medical

While the hernia mesh market is dominated by large multinational corporations, new players in the market have begun to emerge.  The current market leader is C.R. Bard, (Now Bard Medical) who has a market share of nearly 60 percent.  C.R. Bard has been the defendant in numerous lawsuits alleging that its hernia mesh products are defective after recipients experienced complications. Oftentimes, these smaller companies introduce a product that moves the overall marketplace ahead. Then, many of the large corporations tailor their product offerings to the changed marketplace.  In general, more advanced options are causing a growth in the marketplace as more people embrace the use of hernia meshes. If the perception of hernia meshes as a dangerous product can be changed, the overall size of the market can increase.

Hernia mesh lawsuits

While the trend in the hernia mesh market is moving away from the more dangerous polypropylene meshes and towards safer products composed of biological materials, there are still hernia meshes available that have the potential to cause side effects. In addition, millions of patients still have polypropylene hernia meshes implanted that can still cause complications, even years after the initial surgery. Anyone who has suffered side effects from defective hernia mesh should contact an attorney to find out how they can receive financial compensation for the injury that they have suffered. There are tens of thousands of lawsuits that have been filed against the manufacturers of these products, and many of these claims have resulted in settlements.