Dear BHS member,
Some of you will have seen or heard about a news story released in the early hours of Monday 26 June on the BBC website, www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40132638, relating to hernia repair with mesh. I believe this news-piece contains factual inaccuracies and implies that mesh is the cause of all patient’s problems post mesh hernia repair. One of the patients developed groin pain many years after the mesh hernia repair – yet the mesh was still blamed for the problem! Undoubtedly, mesh at times is the culprit, but national and international hernia guidelines (supported by good data from randomised trials and national hernia registries) currently support the use of mesh in the majority of hernia repairs.
We are not suggesting that you should change your current hernia surgery practice over this story. However, you will be aware of the requirements for informed consent with your patients. This should include discussions about surgery vs no surgery, mesh vs no mesh, open vs lap and so on. In addition, information sheets should be readily available prior to surgery. It is our opinion that the BBC have sensationalised the story and have made little effort to check well reported data/facts, which is rather poor to say the least. We must help our patients understand what they are reading.
Looking forward to further debate on this subject.
British Hernia Society