It is normal to have a lot of questions when facing hernia mesh surgery. People want to know how it may affect their lives. But there are also important health questions they should ask their doctors before and after surgery.
If you or a loved one suffered complications or injury after hernia mesh surgery, you may have legal options.
It can take a year or two before people realize they have a hernia. By that time, it may need surgery. Patients may suddenly have questions they never considered.
People may wonder how surgery and recovery will affect their routines. People may also want to know how it will affect them in the long-term. Most hernia repairs rely on mesh. These are some of the most frequently asked questions about hernia mesh.
Hernia mesh reinforces tissue around the hernia. Doctors attach it with sutures, staples or tacks. Over time, tissue grows into the mesh’s pores. This strengthens the repair.
The FDA considers hernia mesh safe. Surgeons have used hernia mesh in millions of surgeries since the 1950s. But in rare cases, hernia mesh can cause serious complications.
Manufacturers make most hernia mesh from synthetic materials or animal tissue. Manufacturers sometimes coat hernia mesh with different materials. Coatings can help the body absorb or grow into the mesh. In rare cases, people can experience reactions to these materials. They may need surgery to remove the mesh.
Polypropylene is the most common synthetic hernia mesh material. It is a flexible plastic that can bend but return to its original shape. But it can stick to internal organs. And polypropylene mesh is stiff enough to sometimes puncture organs.
The FDA says mesh may not be the right choice for all patients. The agency urges people to talk with their surgeons about their individual circumstances.
All of these may need another surgery to correct.
Complications can occur immediately after surgery. Or complications may take years to show up.
Studies have shown complications can occur as long as five years after surgery. There is little research looking at complications past five years after surgery.
Hernia mesh patients must have someone available to drive them home from surgery. Patients remain impaired from anesthesia for a day or more. Patients should not drive during this time.
Most patients are usually able to drive within a few days after surgery. Patients should not drive if taking opiates or other painkillers.
The type of vehicle may affect the ability to drive. Sitting or getting in and out of the vehicle may cause pain or other problems until the wound heals.
Patients should avoid lifting anything over ten pounds for six to eight weeks. They should avoid any strenuous exercise during that time. Doctors encourage limited exercise — especially walking — as soon as possible.
Patients should be able to return to all athletic activities in a matter of weeks. This includes running and contact sports. Performance should return to pre-surgery levels within days to weeks of resuming activities.
People may feel tugging, burning or other discomfort for months. These should diminish over time.
Patients should ask their doctor when it is safe to resume sports.
A 2016 study of hernia mesh patients looked at sex after surgery. They found that the quality of their sex lives improved compared to before surgery. Patients may be able to engage in sexual activity as soon as they feel no severe pain. But they should ask their doctor when they can resume sexual activity.
Doctors usually recommend delaying elective hernia repair until after delivery. But women have had laparoscopic hernia mesh surgery during pregnancy without complications. Surgery during pregnancy requires fetal monitoring. This creates its own risks for both the fetus and woman.
A 2015 study reviewed 31 published papers. The researchers suggested performing hernia repair in conjunction with a C-section. They said it appeared to be the best option for pregnant patients.
Different meshes affect imaging techniques in different ways. Some mesh types may be invisible to certain devices. But others will always show up in any kind of imaging. Still other mesh may fall anywhere between those extremes. Patients should ask their surgeon how their particular mesh interacts with imaging devices.
It is important to follow a doctor’s instructions before and after hernia mesh surgery. This can help prevent complications and speed recovery.
A doctor can also explain risks and benefits of hernia mesh surgery. But most people may not know what questions they should ask their doctor. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers a list of questions to ask your doctor before hernia surgery.
Hernia mesh comes with patient information. The FDA recommends patients ask their surgeon for a copy of the patient information that comes with the mesh used in their surgery. Patients should read this information and keep it handy after surgery.
Follow up care is important after hernia mesh surgery. It can speed recovery and prevent complications.
Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.
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