In hernia surgery, meshes with small pores tend to be filled by fibrous tissue, which reduces their stretchability and causes patient complaints. Because of the inelasticity of current meshes, mechanical strain might cause pores to collapse even in large-pore mesh constructions. In this study, a mesh with elastic thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) filaments was constructed to prevent pore size changes even under mechanical strain, and its biocompatibility in comparison with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) was evaluated. A mesh was constructed using PVDF with elastic TPU filaments and mechanically tested. After midline laparotomy in 20 rabbits, we placed a 15 cm × 3 cm mesh as inlay in the defect. Animals were randomized to either the TPU or PVDF group. After 7 or 21 days, mesh expansion was measured under pneumoperitoneum, and abdominal walls were explanted for immunohistochemical investigations. In vitro, TPU meshes showed a slight reduction in effective porosity from 46% at tension-free conditions to 26% under longitudinal and to 34% under transverse strain. The nonelastic PVDF meshes showed a marked reduction in effective porosity from 70% to 7% and 52%, respectively. The TPU mesh had a breaking elongation of 101% and a tensile strength of 35 N/cm. In vivo, both meshes achieved healing of the incision without hernial defect. The TPU mesh maintained its elasticity under pneumoperitoneum. The amount of CD68-positive, Ki67-positive, and apoptotic cells was significantly lower in the TPU group after 7 and 21 days. The newly developed TPU mesh shows elasticity, structural stability, and preserved effective porosity under mechanical strain. Immunohistochemistry indicates superior biocompatibility of TPU mesh compared with PVDF after 7 and 21 days.
Keywords: effective porosity; elastic mesh; elastic thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU); immunohistochemistry; polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF); rabbit model; structural stability; tensile tests.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.