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What is a Hernia Patch?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 21, 2024
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Sometimes referred to as hernia mesh, the hernia patch is a device used to surgically create a substrate at the site of the hernia. Composed of a mesh body that features a plastic ring, the purpose of the patch is to contain the hernia and allow the body’s natural healing processes to grow tissue and eventually heal the hernia. The hernia patch has been touted as a workable solution for different types of ventral hernias, including a groin hernia.

The use of the mesh in hernia surgery has been viewed as a procedure that was relatively safe and did not require a great deal of time to accomplish. A small incision is made at the site of the hernia. The attending surgeon folds the hernia patch and inserts the device into the incision. Once in place, the patch springs back into the original shape, courtesy of the plastic ring. When placed properly, the mesh is flat against the hernia and helps to prevent any further protrusions.

After undergoing the insertion of the hernia patch, the patient can consult with the physician about the use of various types of hernia support devices or garments during the healing process. Depending on the condition of the patient and the location of the hernia, such options as an adjustable hernia belt, a support garment, or day and evening trusses may be appropriate.

While the hernia patch has been utilized with great success in many situations, some concerns have surfaced. During 2007 and 2008, there were reports of various models of the hernia patch leading to additional health issues over time. The reports included situations where the bowels were perforated due to the plastic ring breaking and puncturing the organ. Incidences of intestinal fistulae have also been reported. In some instances, manufacturers have chosen to recall certain makes and models of the hernia patch, based on the emerging information regarding risks.

As with any type of procedure to deal with hernias, it is important to work closely with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action. In many cases, the location and size of the hernia are such that surgery is not required to deal with the problem. However, if an invasive procedure of any type is required, the patient and physician should discuss the details of the surgery at length. Whether the hernia patch or some other device will be utilized, it is important for the patient to be aware of any short term and long term risks associated with the treatment, so that an informed decision can be reached.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By fBoyle — On Aug 03, 2012

@simrin-- That's a good idea but sometimes people don't always have that choice.

I had a hernia patch placed while I was in surgery. I wasn't being operated on for a hernia but the hernia actually happened during my ulcer operation. So the doctor had to put a hernia patch in.

I didn't have any say in the matter and was informed of it afterward. I guess I've been lucky though because neither has my patch been recalled, nor have I had hernia patch complications afterward.

It sounds like it's kind of hard to know if a hernia patch will succeed or not without getting the procedure done.

By SteamLouis — On Aug 02, 2012

@burcidi-- I haven't, but a relative of mine had to have surgery because of the recalled hernia patch. It was the Kugel mesh hernia patch that was recalled recently that you must have read about. And it affected a lot of people.

But as far as I can remember, the brand had started manufacturing larger hernia patches and it was these large sized ones that were causing problems.

Have you discussed with your doctor the brand and type of hernia patch that will be used for you? If you haven't, you definitely should.

If I were you, I would do some research and try to find out the success rate of the patch that your surgeon plans on using before agreeing to the surgery.

By burcidi — On Aug 02, 2012

I'm supposed to get a hernia patch for an inguinal hernia. My doctor thinks that this is the best treatment option for me.

I'm not sure if I should agree to the procedure though. I remember reading about a hernia patch recall in the news a couple of years ago. At that time, people who had a hernia patch had to figure out if this was the same kind of patch they had. Even those who had no problems and unwanted side effects had to go in for a second procedure to have the patch removed or replaced.

I'm worried that this might happen to me too. Has anyone had to have their hernia patch removed later because of a recall?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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