Sometimes an opening forms in the wall of the abdomen. When this occurs, it may result in a hernia. A hernia is caused by a portion of the intestines protruding through the opening in the abdominal wall. Hernias can also occur when fatty tissue or an organ bulges as it pushes through an opening that could be found in a muscle’s wall or the wall of any tissue in the surrounding area. Hernias can be a nuisance, popping in and out with exertion. If left untreated, a hernia can be extremely painful. In some cases, a hernia could lead to serious complications, such as a blockage of the intestines. In order to treat a hernia, surgeons often use hernia mesh. However, there are two notable non mesh techniques: the Shouldice technique and Component Separation technique.

shouldice technique

Shouldice hospital- Ontario Canada

What is Hernia Mesh?

Hernia mesh is a sheet of loosely woven lightweight material that resembles netting. It is used to reinforce an area that has become weak enough to allow a hernia to occur. Hernias are typically the result of an area of weakness in the body, whether it is in a muscle wall or tissue wall. Surgeons choose hernia mesh to assist in hernia repair most often due to the fact that other methods of repair do not typically last. When an area becomes weak enough to create an opening, it needs something to strengthen it and prevent an organ or tissue from pushing its way out again.

Non Mesh alternatives: Shouldice Technique

One non-mesh alternative was established during World War 2. This technique is known as the Shouldice Technique. This technique was named after a hospital where it was established. Local anesthesia is utilized for this procedure. The operation utilizes steel wires and is known for a very low recurrence rate. There is a quick recovery from this surgical procedure. This procedure is not expensive. Unfortunately, the vast majority of surgeons were not trained in utilizing this procedure. Obese patients may not qualify for this surgical procedure. “The Shouldice repair is named after Dr. Edward Earle Shouldice (1890–1965), the Canadian surgeon who invented the technique in the 1940s. The repair is based on the Bassini repair with some modification. The Bassini repair, named after Dr. Edoardo Bassini who developed it in the 1880s, was the first efficient repair for inguinal hernia. Dr. Shouldice developed his repair during World War II to help men who were unable to enlist in the military because of their hernias. His method improved surgical results and reduced recovery time, quickly restoring the recruits to physical fitness for military training.The procedure involves repair of your muscles using permanent sutures (no mesh, patch, or screen). It is done with intravenous sedation, not gas anesthesia. It is also done with local anesthetic injected into the skin to numb up the surgical site during and for a few hours after the surgery.” Stony Brook medicine

Component separation technique

Another  procedure is called the “component separation technique” (CST). It takes about two hours for this surgical procedure. This technique involves utilizing a victims own tissue for hernia repair. This technique is mostly effective for abdominal wall hernias that are large in size. This technique should not be used for abdominal or groin hernias. “In a component separation, parts of the abdominal wall are cut. This allows for the movement of separate muscle sections. These sections are then joined in the middle of the hernia repair, where they are sutured together completing the hernia repair and restoring the abdominal muscles. A mesh may be included to help reinforce the hernia repair, as well.” University of Iowa Hospitals

How is Hernia Mesh Surgery Performed?

Depending on the location of the hernia, a surgeon will perform a laparascopic procedure or an open procedure on an outpatient basis. Hernia mesh will be positioned over the area where an opening has been created. Surgeons will either use surgical glue or sutures in order to secure the mesh in place. As time goes by and the patient heals, the body will produce tissue that will attach to the mesh. Scar tissue will form. The end result is a strengthened area where the hernia occurred, preventing problems in the future.

What are Other Options to Repair a Hernia Other Than Hernia Mesh?

In some cases, a hernia may not pose any risks and discomfort may be mild. When it comes to hiatal hernias in which part of the stomach bulges through part of the diaphragm, simple changes in eating habits and exercise habits may help a hernia victim to be more comfortable. Hiatal habits can also be treated with medication to reduce symptoms. For example, eating small meals may keep the hernia from bulging and avoid irritation. Losing weight and maintaining an ideal weight may also benefit hernia victims. In some cases, a physician may recommend exercises that can strengthen muscles in order to reduce hernia symptoms. If these changes aren’t effective, surgery is the most common solution.

How Does Hernia Repair without Mesh Work?

If a patient prefers not to have a mesh repair or a surgeon recommends otherwise, a hernia can be repaired by using sutures in order to close the gap where a hernia has occurred. The main goal is to reinforce the weakened muscle wall or tissue wall to ensure a hernia does not recur. There should be no tension on the area. Otherwise, it is likely that an organ or fatty tissue will push its way through yet again. Choosing a surgeon who has experience and a good track record with no mesh hernia procedures offers patients optimal results.

What are the Pros and Cons of Alternatives to Mesh Procedures?

While hernia mesh typically results in a low recurrence rate of hernias, there is the potential for complications. When mesh is used, no matter how lightweight that substance may be, it is still a foreign substance. In the past, surgeons used mesh that consisted of heavy plastics that were more likely to cause problems. In some cases, the body may reject hernia mesh. Infection or injury to the surrounding organs is possible. Damage to the tissue or muscle wall may occur. A hernia victim needs to weigh the risk and benefits before making a decision. The severity of the hernia and a high recurrence rate may indicate that hernia mesh is the best alternative.

If a hernia victim chooses to try lifestyle changes, it can spare a person surgery. As long as the hernia does not become more severe, an individual may be able to live with a hernia indefinitely. However, choosing to do nothing may result in a hernia deteriorating to the point that it leads to an emergency situation.

Choosing to have hernia surgery repair without mesh means there will be no foreign substance in a patient’s body. There is less risk of infection, rejection, or damage to internal tissues as a result of complications caused by mesh. However, the recurrence rate is higher for patients who opt to have a hernia repaired without the assistance of mesh. It is important to understand that there is an area of weakness surrounding a hernia. Surgical repair typically applies pressure to tissues that have already become weakened. This may result in more of a strain. A patient should be able to choose the solution that fits his or her personal needs and preferences best.

Choosing the Best Doctor is Key for a Better Success Rate

In the end, hernia victims need to do their homework as they research their treatment options and healthcare professionals who can provide them with the proper care for their condition. If patients experience complications, regardless of which treatment option they choose, the medical community or hernia mesh manufacturers may be at fault. If this is the case, legal action such as a hernia mesh lawsuit can be taken to ensure hernia victims are compensated for their troubles Many victims are wondering: what is the average hernia mesh settlement 2020 . A consultation with a law firm can point a victim of hernia complications in the right direction to figure out what to do next. While there is always a risk of complications for any procedure or medical treatment, legal action is required if it is due to the fault of someone providing care, producing medication, or developing surgical materials.