Hernia mesh complications

Updated July 19, 2017

Abdominal organs are enclosed in a membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. An abdominal wall may weaken due to hereditary or biological factors with resulting breakage of these linings leading to abdominal organ protrusion through its wall opening. This condition is called a hernia. The main treatment for hernias involves a surgical hernia mesh patch, which can pose some complications.


Some abdominal areas can have weak abdominal walls which are present at birth; however, increased pressure in the abdominal area or cavity may also contribute to the hernia. Conditions such as chronic lung disease, obesity, coughing, heavy lifting and straining during excretion are also contributing factors.


Depending on the type and location of the hernia, it may be able to be felt or even clearly visible to the naked eye. However, this depends on the location. There are some types of hernias that protrude only during strenuous activities or when coughing. In cases where large protrusions are very obvious, the patient is unable to stand erect due to pain.


Treatment may involve stitching the torn stomach muscles back together. It involves closing the rectus abdominis myofascial flap, a procedure that has 40 per cent success rate. For non-severe hernias, use of surgical belts and trusses might help.

Organ Injuries

Several complications over the years of practice have been reported with hernia mesh repair leading to injuries of tissues and organs adjacent to the repaired area. This may result to profuse swelling, bleed-out, difficulty urinating, infertility and more. There were also reported complications due to breakage of the mesh implant material under stress that can cause abdominal conditions and serious complications such as bowel perforations, fistulae and strangulation of intestines.


The most common complication of the hernia mesh repair is the return of the signs and symptoms of a hernia after a period of remission. This can be repaired by the same procedure or an alternate method.


Although a synthetic surgical mesh procedure is preferred as it involves less complication after the surgery, mesh rejection may occur at times. When mesh rejection occurs, it may result in wound infection since growth of parasitic organisms within the body is most likely to occur. In 2006, there were about 100,000 units of Kugel Hernia Mesh Patch recalled by the FDA due to defective mesh patches that caused various forms of hernia mesh complications leading to lawsuits and medical malpractice issues.


Hernia mesh complications are a serious issue that should be prevented. Immediate removal of defective mesh implants is often necessary. Only about 7 per cent of surgical cases have complications and are usually treatable, making it vital to consult a licensed and professional surgeon who is competent enough to carry out the surgery.

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