Approximately 350,000-500,000 surgeries are performed each year in the United States to repair ventral hernias, many in the past utilizing Ethicon’s Physiomesh. Physiomesh is a sterile, surgically implanted hernia repair patch manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary company, Ethicon. Ethicon weaves flexible, non-absorbable polypropylene filaments together into surgical patches. Then, the manufacturer seals this patch between two layers of Monocryl (a polymer film with anti-inflammatory properties). Though it was recalled in May 2016, it was widely used and trusted by surgeons prior to the recall.
What Does Physiomesh Do?
Physiomesh helps repair ventral hernias, which occur when tissue protrudes through a hole or defect in the abdominal wall. Surgical incision sites that weaken over time usually cause ventral hernias. Injuries can also cause ventral hernias, and pregnancy is a major risk factor — especially for women delivering via Caesarean section. The only way to repair ventral hernias is through surgery. Since ventral hernias can often be difficult to repair, experts recommend reporting one to your doctor as soon as possible.
Surgeons repair ventral hernias using Physiomesh or other forms of surgical mesh, most often in patch form. Surgeons can also shape mesh into a plug to fill holes within the abdominal wall to keep organs in place. Because thin, woven fibers comprise Physiomesh, it’s sturdy and strong as well as very thin and flexible. Ethicon sold Physiomesh in different measurements so surgeons could customize its fit prior to the May 2016 recall. Surgeons typically secure Physiomesh in place using just a few sutures. According to Ethicon’s website, it “acts as ‘scaffolding’ for new growth of a patient’s own tissue, which eventually incorporates the mesh into the surrounding area.”
Physiomesh: Ideal for Laparoscopic Repair of Ventral Hernias?
Traditional hernia surgery’s preferred for obese patients, but laparoscopic repair is rising in popularity because it’s less invasive. This technique fixes small tissue tears or openings using tiny incisions made from laparoscopes (miniature telescopes inserted in the abdomen). In laparoscopic repairs, a surgeon makes three to four small incisions in the abdominal wall and then inserts small tubes, allowing an endoscope and dissecting instruments to pass through.
The operating team can view the surgery’s progress using a video screen. Through the smallest possible incision, surgeons dissect the canal (hole in the abdominal wall) and move organs back into place. The surgeon then sews Physiomesh into place to help reinforce weakened abdominal wall tissue. Because it’s less invasive, patients often enjoy a faster recovery time and less pain than traditional hernia repair surgery methods.
Although laparoscopic surgery is ideal for ventral hernia repairs, Physiomesh is not. Ethicon voluntarily recalled Physiomesh in 2016 because studies showed it had a higher hernia recurrence rate than other comparable devices. If you had repair surgery using Physiomesh, you may be eligible for compensation if you experienced hernia recurrence. Fill out your free Physiomesh claim review form today and an attorney will contact you to discuss your case.