Will Removing The Mesh Eliminate Chronic Post-Operative Pain?

The removal of surgical mesh can be difficult. The success in reducing associated pain and discomfort is dependent on many factors such as: where the mesh was originally laid, the size of the mesh, the type of mesh, the extent of the inflammatory reaction and of the mesh’s migration within the body over time, how long the mesh has been inside your body, and the degree of invasion of nerves and organs which have become adherent to the mesh thus initiating erosion into the adjacent tissues. All these factors dictate how much of the mesh can be safely removed, and how much relief can be obtained.

The removal of mesh after hernia repair is a relatively new procedure, and accurate figures on its success are still being compiled as patients who have had the procedure are being followed and assessed. However, preliminary indications are encouraging, where early reports have confirmed a level of pain reduction in over 90% of cases after the mesh was removed. Levels of improvement varied widely, from slightly better to a total cure. In some cases the pain remained unchanged (5%), while in a lesser group (2%), the pain actually became worse. Early experience believes that these unfortunate cases are due to the impossibility of removing the entire mesh, which may have become too adherent, penetrated major blood vessels or infiltrated organs.

Mesh removal should only be attempted by surgeons specialized in this procedure, and patients should be realistic with respect to the possible success of this treatment for their pain.

The best decision is not to have surgical mesh implanted in the first place.