Background: Polymer mesh has been used to repair incisional hernias with lower recurrence rates than suture repair. A new generation of mesh has been developed with reduced polypropylene mass and increased pore size. The aim of this study was to compare standard mesh with new lightweight mesh in patients undergoing incisional hernia repair.
Methods: Patients were randomized to receive lightweight composite mesh, or standard polyester or polypropylene mesh. Outcomes were evaluated at 21 days, 4, 12 and 24 months from patient responses to the Short Form 36 (SF-36) and daily activity questionnaires. Complications and recurrence rates were recorded.
Results: A total of 165 patients were included in an intention-to-treat analysis (83 lightweight mesh, 82 standard mesh). Postoperative complication rates were similar. The overall hernia recurrence rate was 17 per cent with the lightweight mesh versus 7 per cent with the standard mesh (P = 0.052). There were no differences in SF-36 physical function scores or daily activities between 21 days and 24 months after surgery.
Conclusion: The use of the lightweight composite mesh for incisional hernia repair had similar outcomes to polypropylene or polyester mesh with the exception of a non-significant trend towards increased hernia recurrence. The latter may be related to technical factors with regard to the specific placement and fixation requirements of lightweight composite mesh.
Copyright (c) 2005 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.