, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 239-246
Date: 09 Feb 2014

A retrospective review and observations over a 16-year clinical experience on the surgical treatment of chronic mesh infection. What about replacing a synthetic mesh on the infected surgical field?

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To review the short- and long-term results in patients who underwent removal of infected or exposed mesh and reconstruction of the abdominal wall with simultaneous mesh replacement.


Patients undergoing removal of an infected or exposed mesh and single-staged reconstruction of the abdominal wall with synthetic mesh replacement over a 16-year period were retrospectively reviewed from a prospectively maintained database. Patients were operated and followed by a single surgeon. Outcome measures included wound complications and hernia recurrence.


From 1996 until 2012, 41 patients (23 F, 18 M), with a mean age of 53.4 years and mean BMI of 31.2 ± 8 kg/m2, were treated for chronic mesh infection (CMI). A suppurative infection was present in 27 patients, and 14 had an exposed mesh. The need for recurrent incisional hernia repair was observed in 25 patients; bowel resections or other potentially contaminated procedures were associated in 15 patients. The short-term results showed an uneventful post-operative course after mesh replacement in 27 patients; 6 (14.6 %) patients developed a minor wound infection and were treated with dressings and antibiotics; 5 (12 %) patients had wound infections requiring debridement and one required complete mesh removal. On the long-term follow-up, there were three hernia recurrences, one of which demanded a reoperation for enterocutaneous fistula; 95 % of the patients submitted to mesh replacement were considered cured of CMI after a mean follow-up of 74 months.


CMI can be treated by removal of infected mesh; simultaneous mesh replacement prevents hernia recurrence and has an acceptable incidence of post-operative acute infection. Standard polypropylene mesh is a suitable material to be used in the infected surgical field as an onlay graft.