Mechanical behaviour of synthetic surgical meshes: finite element simulation of the herniated abdominal wall

Acta Biomater. 2011 Nov;7(11):3905-13. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2011.06.033. Epub 2011 Jun 26.


The material properties of meshes used in hernia surgery contribute to the overall mechanical behaviour of the repaired abdominal wall. The mechanical response of a surgical mesh has to be defined since the haphazard orientation of an anisotropic mesh can lead to inconsistent surgical outcomes. This study was designed to characterize the mechanical behaviour of three surgical meshes (Surgipro®, Optilene® and Infinit®) and to describe a mechanical constitutive law that accurately reproduces the experimental results. Finally, through finite element simulation, the behaviour of the abdominal wall was modelled before and after surgical mesh implant. Uniaxial loading of mesh samples in two perpendicular directions revealed the isotropic response of Surgipro® and the anisotropic behaviour of Optilene® and Infinit®. A phenomenological constitutive law was used to reproduce the measured experimental curves. To analyze the mechanical effect of the meshes once implanted in the abdomen, finite element simulation of the healthy and partially herniated repaired rabbit abdominal wall served to reproduce wall behaviour before and after mesh implant. In all cases, maximal displacements were lower and maximal principal stresses higher in the implanted abdomen than the intact wall model. Despite the fact that no mesh showed a behaviour that perfectly matched that of abdominal muscle, the Infinit® mesh was able to best comply with the biomechanics of the abdominal wall.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / surgery
  • Animals
  • Finite Element Analysis*
  • Hernia, Abdominal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing / methods*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Rabbits
  • Surgical Mesh*