Purpose: Treatment of chronic mesh infections (CMI) after parietal repair is difficult and not standardized. Our objective was to present the results of a standardized surgical treatment including maximal infected mesh removal.
Methods: Patients who were referred to our center for chronic mesh infection were analyzed according to CMI risk factors, initial hernia prosthetic cure, CMI characteristics and treatments they received to achieve a cure.
Results: Thirty-four patients (mean age 54 ± 13 years; range 23-72), were included. Initial prosthetic cure consisted of 26 incisional hernias and eight groin or umbilical hernias of which 21% were considered potentially contaminated because of three intestinal injuries, two stomas and two strangulated hernias. The mesh was synthetic in all cases. CMI appeared after a mean of 83 days (range 30-6740) and was characterized by chronic leaking in 52 cases (50%), an abscess in 22 cases (21%) and synchronous hernia recurrence in 17 cases (16.5%). Eighty-six reinterventions were necessary, including 36 mesh removals (42%), and 13 intestinal resections for entero-cutaneous fistula (15%). The CMI persistence rate was 81% (35 reinterventions out of 43) when mesh removal was voluntarily limited to infected and/or not incorporated material, but was 44% when mesh removal was voluntarily complete (19 reinterventions out of 43; p < 0.001). On average, 3.4 interventions (1-11) were necessary to achieve a cure, after 2.8 years (0-6). Fourteen incisional hernia recurrences occurred (41%).
Conclusions: Treatment of chronic mesh infection is lengthy and resource-intensive, with a high risk of hernia recurrence. Maximal mesh removal is mandatory.
Keywords: Complete removal; Incisional hernia; Mesh infection; Partial removal.