Mesh Type With Ventral Hernia Repair: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Trials


Gulf Coast


HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood

Document Type


Publication Date



Humans, Surgical Wound Infection, Surgical Mesh, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Hernia, Ventral, Herniorrhaphy, Biological Products, Recurrence, Treatment Outcome, Retrospective Studies


Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms | Surgery | Surgical Procedures, Operative


INTRODUCTION: Synthetic mesh is widely utilized for clean ventral hernia repair; however, it is unclear if synthetic mesh provides the same benefits with high-risk patients or during contaminated cases. Many surgeons use biologic mesh in these settings, but there is little evidence to support this practice. Our objective was to compare the clinical outcomes of utilizing biologic mesh versus synthetic mesh during ventral hernia repair.

METHODS: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines, a review of the literature was conducted using Cochrane library, EMBASE,, and PubMed for randomized controlled trials published that compared biologic versus synthetic mesh during ventral hernia repair. The primary outcome was major complications defined as deep or organ space surgical site infection, reoperations, and hernia recurrences.

RESULTS: Of 1889 manuscripts screened, four publications were included. The four studies included a total of 758 patients, with 381 receiving biologic mesh and 377 receiving synthetic mesh. Compared to biologic mesh, synthetic mesh had lower rates of major complications (38.6% versus 23.4, risk ratio = 0.55, 95% confidence interval = 0.35 to 0.86, P = 0.009) and hernia recurrence (24.5 % versus 10.3%, risk ratio = 0.44, 95% confidence interval = 0.28 to 0.69, P = 0.004). In addition, there was a lower percentage of surgical site infection and reoperation in the synthetic mesh group.

CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to current surgical teaching, placement of permanent synthetic mesh into a contaminated field yielded rates of complications that were comparable or reduced compared to biologic mesh.

Publisher or Conference

Journal of Surgical Research