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J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2012 Jan;5(1):257-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Sep 17.

Long-term anisotropic mechanical response of surgical meshes used to repair abdominal wall defects.

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Aragón Institute of Engineering Research (I3A), University of Zaragoza, Spain.


Routine hernia repair surgery involves the implant of synthetic mesh. However, this type of procedure may give rise to pain and bowel incarceration and strangulation, causing considerable patient disability. The purpose of this study was to compare the long-term behaviour of three commercial meshes used to repair the partially herniated abdomen in New Zealand White rabbits: the heavyweight (HW) mesh, Surgipro(®) and lightweight (LW) mesh, Optilene(®), both made of polypropylene (PP), and a mediumweight (MW) mesh, Infinit(®), made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The implanted meshes were mechanical and histological assessed at 14, 90 and 180 days post-implant. This behaviour was compared to the anisotropic mechanical behaviour of the unrepaired abdominal wall in control non-operated rabbits. Both uniaxial mechanical tests conducted in craneo-caudal and perpendicular directions and histological findings revealed substantial collagen growth over the repaired hernial defects causing stiffness in the repair zone, and thus a change in the original properties of the meshes. The mechanical behaviour of the healthy tissue in the craneo-caudal direction was not reproduced by any of the implanted meshes after 14 days or 90 days of implant, whereas in the perpendicular direction, SUR and OPT achieved similar behaviour. From a mechanical standpoint, the anisotropic PP-lightweight meshes may be considered a good choice in the long run, which correlates with the structure of the regenerated tissue.

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