Does expanded polytetrafluoroethylene mesh really shrink after laparoscopic ventral hernia repair?



The shrinkage of mesh has been cited as a possible explanation for hernia recurrence. Expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) is unique in that it can be visualized on computed tomography (CT). Some animal studies have shown a greater than 40% rate of contraction of ePTFE; however, very few human studies have been performed.

Study design

A total of 815 laparoscopic incisional/ventral hernia (LIVH) repairs were performed by a single surgical group. DualMesh Plus (ePTFE) (WL Gore & Associates, Newark, DE) was placed in the majority of these patients using both transfascial sutures and tack fixation. Fifty-eight patients had postoperative CTs of the abdomen and pelvis with ePTFE and known transverse diameter of the implanted mesh. The prosthesis was measured on the CT using the AquariusNet software program (TeraRecon, San Mateo, CA), which outlines the mesh and calculates the total length. Data were collected regarding the original mesh size, known linear dimension of mesh, seroma formation, and time interval since mesh implantation in months.


The mean shrinkage rate was 6.7%. The duration of implantation ranged from 6 weeks to 78 months, with a median of 15 months. Seroma was seen in 8.6% (5) of patients. No relationship was identified between the percentage of shrinkage and the original mesh size (P = 0.78), duration of time implanted (P = 0.57), or seroma formation (P = 0.074). In 27.5% (16) of patients, no shrinkage of mesh was identified. Of the patients who did experience mesh shrinkage, the range of shrinkage was 2.6–25%.


Our results are markedly different from animal studies and show that ePTFE has minimal shrinkage after LIVH repair. The use of transfascial sutures in addition to tack fixation may have an implication on the mesh contraction rates.

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The authors would like to thank Tom Sabin for his assistance with the statistical analysis.

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Correspondence to P. R. Carter.

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Carter, P.R., LeBlanc, K.A., Hausmann, M.G. et al. Does expanded polytetrafluoroethylene mesh really shrink after laparoscopic ventral hernia repair?. Hernia 16, 321–325 (2012).

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  • Hernia
  • Ventral hernia
  • DualMesh
  • ePTFE
  • Transfascial sutures
  • Tack fixation