Background: This study aimed to determine whether the strength and extensibility of hernia repair materials are negatively influenced by the application of helical titanium tacks.
Methods: This study evaluated 14 meshes including bare polypropylene, macroporous polytetrafluoroethylene, absorbable barrier, partially absorbable mesh, and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene materials. Each mesh provided 15 specimens, which were prepared in 7.5 × 7.5-cm squares. Of these, 5 "undamaged" specimens were subjected to ball-burst testing to determine their biomechanical properties before application of helical titanium tacks (ProTack). To 10 "damaged" specimens 7 tacks were applied 1 cm apart in a 3.5-cm-diameter circle using a tacking force of 25 to 28 N. The tacks were removed from five of the specimens before ball-burst testing and left intact in the remaining five specimens.
Results: The application of tacks had no effect on the tensile strength of Dualmesh, ProLite Ultra, Infinit, Ultrapro, C-QUR Lite (<6 in.), Prolene Soft, or Physiomesh, but the tensile strengths were reduced for Bard Mesh, C-QUR, ProLite, and C-QUR Lite (>6 in.). Most of the meshes did not exhibit significantly different tensile strengths between removal of tacks and tacks left intact. Exceptions included C-QUR, Prolene, Ultrapro, and Bard Soft Mesh, which were weaker with removal of tacks than with tacks left intact during the test. Damage due to the application of helical titanium tacks also caused increased strain at a stress of 16 N/cm for all the meshes except C-QUR Lite (>6 in.) and Physiomesh.
Conclusions: Many of the meshes evaluated in this study exhibited damage in the form of reduced tensile strength and increased extensibility after the application of tacks compared with the corresponding "undamaged" meshes. Meshes with smaller interstices and larger filaments were influenced negatively by the application of helical titanium tacks, whereas mesh designs with larger interstices and smaller filaments tended to maintain their baseline mechanical properties.