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Biologic vs. Synthetic Mesh: What do doctors prefer? Which meshes have lawsuits?

By David B. Rheingold, Esq.

Hernia repair is a very common surgery with over one million operations performed annually in the United States.[i][ii]

Surgeons have several options when it comes to hernia repair:


      1. Repair using simple surgical stitching;

      1. Repair using biologic mesh; or

      1. Repair with synthetic mesh.

    The repair technique that is ultimately chosen depends on where the hernia is, how big it is, what surgical approach will be used (open vs laparoscopic), the patient’s age, general health, and other factors.

    If you or a loved one are about to have a hernia repair surgery, your surgeon will discuss these options with you. Patients sometimes need to be self-advocates and get as much information as possible regarding the operation and medical devices used.

    What makes a hernia mesh surgery successful?

    A major factor in determining whether a biologic or synthetic mesh surgery is “successful” is whether there are future complications or hernia recurrence.[iii] Synthetic meshes use polypropylene, polyester, or expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. Biologic meshes are made with human, cow or pig tissue.

    What are the signs of a hernia mesh failure?

    Synthetic materials, like those found in Bard meshes, can shrink and deform over time. This leads to migration, infection and organ rupture.

    Biologic pig mesh is supposed to integrate into tissue but there are many reports of the mesh degrading, getting infected, scarring over, or allowing hernias to recur.

    Surgeons will need to rely on their experience, knowledge of the mesh, and understanding of how it works for different types of patients.

    What mesh failures qualify for lawsuits and settlements?

    Many mesh complications are involved in lawsuits. The start of a hernia mesh failure is often associated with:


        1. Recurring hernia.

        1. Infections.

        1. Bowel obstruction.

        1. Pain.

        1. Organ impairment and failure.

      Biologic and synthetic meshes are made differently and fail in different ways. Surgeons can explain why a mesh fails. Legal counsel can advise you how the failed mesh may be part of litigation.

      If you or a loved one believe you have experienced a mesh failure, please contact David B. Rheingold and his legal team for assistance in pursuing compensation for your injuries and damages.




      Picture of David B. Rheingold, Partner

      David B. Rheingold, Partner

      David specializes in an active trial practice primarily involving drug products, medical device liability and product liability cases. On both a state and national level, he has obtained substantial client settlements through arbitration, mediation and direct negotiations with some of the largest national and international drug and medical device makers. David has been involved in multiple high-profile legal cases including the $2.5 billion DePuy ASR and DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant settlement plan and the $1.4 billion Stryker Rejuvenate metal-on-metal hip implant settlement plan.

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