Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the biocompatibility, local tissue effects and performance of a synthetic long-term resorbable test mesh (TIGR(®) Matrix Surgical Mesh) compared to a non-resorbable polypropylene control mesh following implantation in a sheep model.
Methods: Full-thickness abdominal wall defects were created in 14 sheep and subsequently repaired using test or control meshes. Sacrifices were made at 4, 9, 15, 24 and 36 months and results in terms of macroscopic observations, histology and collagen analysis are described for 4, 9, 15, 24 and 36 months.
Results: The overall biocompatibility was good, and equivalent in the test and control meshes while the resorbable mesh was characterized by a collagen deposition more similar to native connective tissue and an increased thickness of the integrating tissue. The control polypropylene mesh provoked a typical chronic inflammation persistent over the 36-month study period. As the resorbable test mesh gradually degraded it was replaced by a newly formed collagen matrix with an increasing ratio of collagen type I/III, indicating a continuous remodeling of the collagen towards a strong connective tissue. After 36 months, the test mesh was fully resorbed and only microscopic implant residues could be found in the tissue.
Conclusions: This study suggests that the concept of a long-term resorbable mesh with time-dependent mechanical characteristics offers new possibilities for soft tissue repair and reinforcement.