Polytetrafluoroethylene Repair of Incisional Hernia: Development and Results

  • R. K. J. Simmermacher
Conference paper


Tetrafluoroethylene is a gas becomes liquid at a temperature of −35°C. By polymerization, a paste-like substance can be obtained called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). After further manufacturing processes, PTFE threads can be made. These threads can be used either singly or doubly as sutures to make a woven (cloth) or braided (mesh) prosthesis for different surgical applications [1]. Due to its chemical structure, any product made of PTFE is chemically inert and heat resistant up to 27°C. Besides these qualities, it is also resistant to all acids, lyes (except trifluoridchloride), and enzymes, is hydrophobic, and is electronegatively charged. All the products made of PTFE are available under the brand name Teflon [2]. In 1972, W.L. Gore and Associates (Flagstaff, Arizona) developed a special manufacturing process which made it possible to stretch the PTFE, resulting in expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), which is better known under the name Gore-Tex. ePTFE is made of tiny knots of PTFE which are interconnected by thin flexible fibrils of the same material. The length of the interconnecting fibrils determines the pore size, which is usually between 1 and 200 µm. ePTFE was originally used for the production of vascular prostheses, which have been applied successfully [3]. The vascular prosthesis appeared to be biologically inert, not modified by tissue fluids, noncarcinogenic, and with a high patency rate [49.


Incisional Hernia Groin Hernia Abdominal Wall Defect Vascular Prosthesis Composite Mesh 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

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  • R. K. J. Simmermacher

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