Inguinal hernia affects almost one third of all men and is one of the most common reasons for having surgery. Unfortunately, chronic post-operative pain is a widespread problem. Now, however, results from a 3-year prospective safety and performance study show that using slowly resorbable surgical mesh during the repair procedure eliminates reported pain in 40 lateral inguinal hernia patients. The study is now published in the medical journal Hernia.

Hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall muscle membrane that allows abdominal organs to protrude and become pinched. Approximately 15,000 operations are performed annually in Sweden due to inguinal hernia, the majority for lateral inguinal hernia (LIH). LIH is caused by an open inner ring of the inguinal channel and thus differs from medial hernia, which is due to the poor functioning of the abdominal wall in the rear portion of the inguinal canal. So far, around twenty percent of all who were operated for inguinal hernia experienced pain in the groin three months after surgery. The study now published shows that this long-term pain can be avoided by using a slowly resorbable surgical mesh (TIGR® Matrix).

“We show in this pilot study that slowly resorbable mesh works very well for lateral inguinal hernia repair. None of the LIH patients reported pain or felt residual discomfort from the mesh, which is a wonderful result,” says Fernando Ruiz Jasbon, consultant surgeon at the Halland Kungsbacka Hospital in Sweden and the man behind the study now published in Hernia.

Chronic pain is a relatively common complication of inguinal hernia surgery and a major problem for patients since it has a high negative impact on their everyday lives. Several research groups have shown that the amount of mesh material remaining after hernia operations may be an important factor in chronic inflammation, which in turn causes post-operative pain. Using a mesh implant that maintains mechanical integrity and stimulates the formation of a stable, organized fibrous plate before slowly resorbing into the body thus helps avoid the majority of patient’s chronic pain.

“Reducing the risk that these patients will suffer chronic post-operative pain is good news indeed! If future studies confirm that TIGR® also prevents LIH relapse, it would be a huge success and a real benefit for patients,” continues Fernando Ruiz Jasbon. A larger, randomized control study is planned as part of the continued evaluation of the resorbable mesh.

“My interpretation of the study is that TIGR® surgical mesh is a good choice during the initial healing phase until the tissue is restored. The fact that no individual felt any residual discomfort from the mesh is an important finding,” says Gabriel Sandblom, Associate Professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.