Chronic Mesh Infection Complicated by an Enterocutaneous Fistula Successfully Treated by Infected Mesh Removal and Negative Pressure Wound Therapy: A Case Report

Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Dec;98(49):e18192. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000018192.


Rationale: Tension-free repair of inguinal hernia with prosthetic materials in adults has become a routine surgical procedure. However, serious complications may arise such as mesh displacement, infection, and even enterocutaneous fistula (EF). The management of chronic mesh infection (CMI) complicated by an EF is very challenging. A simple treatment of infected mesh removal and negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) may cure the patients with EF with CMI.

Patient concerns: A 75-year-old male patient underwent tension-free treatment for a bilateral inguinal hernia at a county hospital 10 years ago. Three months before admission, the right groin gradually formed a skin sinus with outflow of fetid thin pus, and it could not heal.

Diagnoses: The patient was diagnosed preoperatively with mesh plug adhesion to the intestine, which resulted in low-flow EF combined with CMI.

Interventions: The patient received a simple treatment mode consisting of an incision made from the original incision, but the new incision did not penetrate the abdominal cavity; treatment included resection of the fistula, removal of the mesh, repair of the intestine and local tissue, and continuous irrigation of vacuum sealing drainage (VSD) devices for NPWT.

Outcomes: The infected mesh was completely removed. Five VSD devices were utilized to treat the EF and wound. The time from intervention to wound healing was 35 days, and follow-up for 6 months revealed no infection and no hernia recurrence in the right groin.

Lessons: The NPWT is effective in treating CMI concomitant with EF and does not increase the risk of hernia recurrence.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Device Removal
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery*
  • Herniorrhaphy / adverse effects*
  • Herniorrhaphy / methods
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Fistula / surgery*
  • Male
  • Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy / methods
  • Surgical Mesh / microbiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / surgery*