The use of synthetic surgical mesh materials has been shown to decrease the incidence of hernia recurrence, but can be associated with undesirable effects such as infection, chronic discomfort, and adhesion to viscera. Surgical meshes composed of extracellular matrix (i.e., biologically-derived mesh) are an alternative to synthetic meshes and can reduce some of these undesirable effects but are less frequently used due to greater cost and perceived inadequate strength as the mesh material degrades and is replaced by host tissue. The present study assessed the temporal association between mechanical properties and degradation of biologic mesh composed of urinary bladder matrix (UBM) in a rodent model of full thickness abdominal wall defect. Mesh degradation was evaluated for non-chemically crosslinked scaffolds with the use of (14)C-radiolabeled UBM. UBM biologic mesh was 50% degraded by 26 days and was completely degraded by 90 days. The mechanical properties of the UBM biologic mesh showed a rapid initial decrease in strength and modulus that was not proportionately associated with its degradation as measured by (14)C. The loss of strength and modulus was followed by a gradual increase in these values that was associated with the deposition of new, host derived connective tissue. The strength and modulus values were comparable to or greater than those of the native abdominal wall at all time points.
Keywords: (14)C Isotope; Biologic mesh; Bioscaffold remodeling; ECM degradation; Mechanical properties; UBM.
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