Currently, more than 200 different textile constructions, so-called 'meshes', are available for use world-wide in the more than 20 million operations performed annually for the reinforcement of tissues. As any reintervention at the mesh-tissue compound is a surgical challenge, sometimes resulting in almost untreatable defects, huge efforts are being made to improve the biological and functional performance of the meshes. Based on numerous experimental and clinical studies in the past 20 years, our understanding of them has improved markedly. This includes the biomechanical aspects and the histopathological evaluation of the recipient tissue. Sufficiently large pores as well as structural stability in case of mechanical strain have been identified to be crucial to reduce excessive inflammation and fibrosis. Furthermore, large pores prevent bridging of the foreign body reaction through the pore and thereby help to reduce clinical adverse events as erosion, shrinkage or pain. However, with regard to the many different indications for meshes, there will never be one single ideal mesh for all purposes. To achieve an optimal performance, every construction should be designed according to the specific functional requirements, charging the surgeon to identify the best mesh for his purpose.
Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.