A systematic review of synthetic and biologic materials for abdominal wall reinforcement in contaminated fields

Surg Endosc. 2014 Sep;28(9):2531-46. doi: 10.1007/s00464-014-3499-5. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Background: Guidelines recommend the use of bioprosthetics for abdominal wall reinforcement in contaminated fields, but the evidence supporting the use of biologic over synthetic non-absorbable prosthetics for this indication is poor. Therefore, the objective was to perform a systematic review of outcomes after synthetic non-absorbable and biologic prosthetics for ventral hernia repair or prophylaxis in contaminated fields.

Methods: The systematic literature search identified all articles published up to 2013 that reported outcomes after abdominal wall reinforcement using synthetic non-absorbable or biologic prosthetics in contaminated fields. Studies were included if they included at least 10 cases (excluding inguinal and parastomal hernias). Quality assessment was performed using the MINORS instrument. The main outcomes measures were the incidence of wound infection and hernia at follow-up. Weighted pooled proportions were calculated using a random effects model.

Results: A total of 32 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included for synthesis. Mean sample size was 41.4 (range 10-190), and duration of follow-up was >1 year in 72 % of studies. Overall quality was low (mean 6.2, range 1-12). Pooled wound infection rates were 31.6 % (95 % CI 14.5-48.7) with biologic and 6.4 % (95 % CI 3.4-9.4) with synthetic non-absorbable prosthetics in clean-contaminated cases, with similar hernia rates. In contaminated and/or dirty fields, wound infection rates were similar, but pooled hernia rates were 27.2 % (95 % CI 9.5-44.9) with biologic and 3.2 % (95 % CI 0.0-11.0) with synthetic non-absorbable. Other outcomes were comparable.

Conclusions: The available evidence is limited, but does not support the superiority of biologic over synthetic non-absorbable prosthetics in contaminated fields.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / surgery*
  • Bioprosthesis*
  • Hernia, Ventral / surgery*
  • Herniorrhaphy / methods
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control