Is mesh safe for hernia surgery? – Hernia Clinic

When it comes to hernia surgery, patients can take comfort in the fact mesh can be used without fear, with international research showing no difference in pain rates when comparing the use of mesh or sutures for repair, The Hernia Clinic’s Ross Roberts says.



An experienced surgeon specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of hernias, Ross explains there has been much controversy in the media regarding the use of mesh in gynaecological procedures, causing unnecessary widespread stress and anxiety for patients undergoing hernia surgery.

“Media coverage has unfortunately brought the good results of mesh hernia repair into disrepute by categorising all mesh operations as the same,” Ross states.

Published newspaper reports have highlighted associated risks of infection, erosion and chronic pain but haven’t addressed the real issue which is the anatomical placement of the mesh itself, he says.

“The use of mesh for abdominal and groin hernia repair is safe. Most reported problems relate to the location of the material and not the material itself.

“The use of polypropylene (the most common type of mesh) is not a new material and has been used for hernia surgery since the early 1990s. The use of mesh in surgery to repair inguinal or groin hernias is well established here in New Zealand (and internationally) and is considered the procedure of choice.”

The team at the Christchurch-based Hernia Clinic is widely experienced in all forms of hernia repair including keyhole and the more traditional surgical techniques.

Clinic staff always survey their patients and seek feedback following surgery. “We are confident that it’s safe and that’s the conclusion we have reached after surveying our patients before and after surgery.”

The results of this study were published in November and showed that, of a total of 1711 herniae repaired at The Hernia Clinic, the recurrence rate after inguinal (groin) hernia repair was less than one percent.

Importantly it was also shown that mesh hernia repair significantly reduced the amount of pain that patients experienced as only 22 percent of patients had no pain before surgery while 76 percent where pain free after surgery.

Similarly 7.6 percent of patients had severe pain before surgery and only one percent of patients had severe pain one year after their hernia repair.

It is reassuring to know that the risk of long term discomfort or other side effects after hernia repair using mesh was very low in this large study.

Hernias are particularly common disorders, especially in men, and can only be successfully treated by surgical repair.

The past requirement for prolonged time away from work and exercise following surgical hernia repair no longer applies today.

Information regarding hernia repair options is available freely on request. Contact The Hernia Clinic on 03 961 6666 or email


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