Bowel complications after prolene hernia system (PHS) repair: a case report and review of the literature

Hernia. 2008 Aug;12(4):437-40. doi: 10.1007/s10029-008-0338-4. Epub 2008 Jan 31.


The advent of mesh devices allowed for tension-free inguinal hernia repairs and a subsequent reduction in the rate of recurrences. In 1993, Rutkow and Robbins introduced the plug-and-patch repair method whereby the hernia defect is filled with a mesh plug. This new procedure led to new technique-specific complications. Here, we report the case of a man who presented with obstructive symptoms and pain at the site of his inguinal hernia repair performed with the Prolene Hernia System((R)) 18 months prior. At laparotomy, he was found to have a small bowel obstruction and perforation due to mesh contact with the small bowel and colon. The literature is reviewed for cases of bowel complications due to mesh plugs. Based on reported complications, three recommendations can be made to avoid or reduce the risk of this complication. First, the pre-peritoneal dissection should be performed carefully with particular attention to identify and repair any tears of the peritoneum. Secondly, the mesh plug should not be placed too deep within the defect. Finally, the plug should be secured to reduce the possibility of mesh migration.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / surgery
  • Intestine, Small*
  • Laparotomy / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Polypropylenes*
  • Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects
  • Prosthesis Implantation / instrumentation*
  • Surgical Mesh / adverse effects*


  • Polypropylenes