A New Prosthetic Implant for Inguinal Hernia Repair: Its Features in a Porcine Experimental Model


Prof. Giuseppe Amato, Department of General Surgery, Urgency and Organ Transplantation, Via Del Vespro 129, Palermo, Sicily 90127, Italy. E-mail: amatomed@gmail.com


Even after more than 100 years of inguinal hernia repair, the rate of complications and recurrence remains unacceptably high. In the last decades, few effective advances in surgical technique and materials have been made. The authors see them as minor adjustments in the shape and materials of the prosthetic implants. Still, the underlying genesis of inguinal hernia remains undefined. Based upon this, it seems the surgical repair of inguinal protrusions cannot be based upon the pathogenesis because the etiology to date has not been addressed. Most hernia repairs are performed with some degree of point fixation (sutures/tacks) to stop the mesh from migrating and creating high recurrence rates. This should be a priority for our considerations, as fixating mesh puts it in stark contrast to the physiology and dynamics of the myotendineal structures of the groin. Following years of surgical practice, implant fixation, mesh shrinkage, and poor quality of tissue ingrowth still represent an unresolved issue in modern hernia repair. Conventional prosthetics used for inguinal hernia repair are static and passive. They do not move in harmony with the dynamic elements of the groin structure and, as a result, induce the ingrowth of thin scar plates or shrinking regressive tissue that colonizes the implants. The authors strongly believe that these characteristics may be a contributing factor for recurrences and patient discomfort. Other complications are reported in the literature to be a direct result of fixation of the implants, such as bleeding, nerve entrapment, hematoma, pain, discomfort, and testicular complications. To improve results by respecting the physiology and kinetics of the inguinal region, we felt that a new type of prosthesis should be designed that induces a more structured tissue ingrowth similar to the natural biologic components of the abdominal wall. This prosthetic device was specifically designed to be placed with no point fixation. This was achieved by using inherent radial recoil, vertical buffering, friction, and delivering the device in a constrained state. A secondary benefit of this “dynamic” design is that the implant moves in a three-dimensional way in unison with the movements of the myotendineal structures of the groin. The results appear to show that the three-dimensional structure not only acts as a suitable scaffold for a full thickness ingrowth of a tissue barrier but also seems to induce an ordered, supple, elastic tissue, which allows for neorevascularization and neoneural growth. The outcomes indicate a reduced impact of fibrotic shrinkage on the implant/scar tissue when compared with shrinkage of polypropylene meshes reported in the literature. This pilot study shows the features of such an implant in a porcine experimental model.