Imaging and Treatment of Complications of Abdominal and Pelvic Mesh Repair

Radiographics. 2020 Mar-Apr;40(2):432-453. doi: 10.1148/rg.2020190106.


Surgical mesh is used most frequently for tension-free repair of abdominal wall hernias in adults, because the rate of hernia recurrence is lower with mesh than with primary soft-tissue repair. Since the introduction of polypropylene mesh in the middle of the 20th century, many mesh materials and configurations for specific surgical procedures have been developed. In addition to abdominal wall hernia repair, mesh may be used for repair of diaphragmatic hernias, urinary incontinence in women (female slings), genitourinary prolapse (vaginal mesh and sacrocolpopexy), rectal prolapse (rectopexy), and postprostatectomy male urinary incontinence (male slings). General mesh repair complications include chronic pain; fluid collections such as seromas, hematomas, and abscesses; adhesions that may lead to intestinal blockage; erosion into solid or hollow viscera including enterocutaneous fistulizing disease; and mesh failure characterized by mesh shrinkage, detachment, and migration with repair malfunction. Several mesh complications are often diagnosed with imaging, primarily with CT and less frequently with MRI and US, despite variable mesh visibility at imaging. This article reviews the common surgical mesh applications in the abdomen and pelvis, discusses imaging of mesh repair complications, and provides complication treatment highlights.©RSNA, 2020.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Herniorrhaphy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy*
  • Surgical Mesh*
  • Urinary Incontinence / surgery*