Will I be able to feel hernia mesh after surgery?

Many patients have concerned about if they will feel hernia mesh after surgical repair. If you have the advanced open preperitoneal inguinal hernia repair, you will not feel the mesh because it is on the inside of your abdominal wall, under many muscle layers. Because the mesh is on the inside, you will not be able to feel any mesh on the outside of your abdominal wall. Your abdominal pressure holds the mesh in place so that it will not migrate.

Mesh is placed on the outside of the abdominal wall in traditional hernia surgery, which we very rarely perform. Because it is placed closer to the surface of the body, many patients complain that they can feel hernia mesh after surgery. There are nerves along the outside of the abdominal wall that can occasionally get entrapped in the mesh in that area, which can cause chronic pain and cause patients to feel hernia mesh after surgery. People who have a mesh plug used to repair their hernias often feel the mesh plug. While it’s not always painful, some chronic pain issues are likely due to the shape and location of the mesh plug. We stopped using the mesh plug about 15 years ago, and recent guidelines from 2018 suggest that there is no longer a role for the plug or for very bulky mesh devices that go above, through and under the muscles. Surgeons are understanding the role that mesh selection and location play in patients feeling the mesh and feeling pain.

The preperitoneal repair allows for a greatly decreased risk of chronic pain as well as decreased risk of being able to feel hernia mesh after surgery.

For people who are concerned about the foreign material in their body, or feeling the mesh, we started offering no mesh shouldice repair in 2015. While we expect the long term outcomes of the Shouldice repair to reveal a higher rate of hernia recurrence, this repair is a reasonable alternative for some patients.

Please contact us if you would like to meet with Dr. Reinhorn or Dr. Fullington.