Hernia: Are meshes removable?

Tuesday 18 September 2007 00:00 BST

In July 1984 I had left and right inguinal hernias repaired separately. In October 2004 they were repaired again with a single mesh. Since January 2006 I have had constant severe pain in my right testicle (treated with Pregabalin). In early July this year I developed pain down both legs and I now have to walk very slowly. I believe the mesh is snagging nerves is it possible to remove it?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Inguinal hernias are bulges that appear in the groin that are caused by a muscular weakness in the wall of the abdomen. The bulge is actually a loop of intestine that begins to escape from where it belongs. In the past 10 years it has become popular to repair these hernias using a synthetic mesh made of material similar to surgical sutures. It forms a mechanical wall, and the body's tissues heal around it and keep it in place. The pain that you are getting sounds like it is coming from nerves. They may be "snagging" in the mesh, or they may have got involved in scar tissue separate from the mesh. Mesh can be removed, but usually this is only done if an infection sets in. If your mesh is removed, there is no guarantee that the pain will go away. And a third operation will make it more likely that the hernia will recur.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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