Inguinal hernia repair is made affordable with sterilized mosquito nets replacing costly surgical meshes. Sterilized mosquito netting could help repair inguinal (groin) hernias in nearly 200 million low-income individuals who suffer by not treating the hernia.
An inguinal hernia is when there is a hole in the abdominal wall around the groin allowing for organs, fat and intestines to be pushed through and protrude. Surgery is the only effective mode of treatment for inguinal hernias, but for those low-income individuals, the cost of the procedure may deter them from seeking out the surgery, and thus continuing to live with pain and suffer complications of an untreated hernia.
Dr. Jenny Löfgren, researcher at Umeå University’s Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences said, “Commercial hernia meshes cost 100 dollars or more, which is too much for the health services and people living in poor countries. So instead, doctors and surgeons in several countries have been using mosquito nets, but whether they are effective and safe hasn’t been given sufficient study until now.”
Researchers conducted a large randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of mosquito nets in order to repair inguinal hernias. The study involved over 300 participants from Uganda, all males, who received either a surgical mesh or sterilized mosquito netting to repair an inguinal hernia. The participants were followed for up to a year.
The researchers found no significant differences between either group, and complications that occurred were mild in both groups. Overall, the sterilized mosquito nets proved to be an effective form of treatment for repairing an inguinal hernia.
Project leader, Dr. Andreas Wladis added, “These results are of great potential benefit to the many millions of people who lack access to good surgical care for their hernias. The next step will be to motivate greater resource allocation to treat hernia patients and plan for how mosquito nets could be used for hernia surgery on a larger scale.”
An inguinal hernia occurs when soft tissues protrude through a weakened area or a defect in abdominal muscles. This type of hernia occurs in the groin and is more commonly seen in males than females.
Risk factors of an inguinal hernia include:
Signs and symptoms of an inguinal hernia are a bulge in the groin area along with pain, pressure, and aching, worsened pain when lifting, bending or coughing. Men may also have swelling around the testicles.
Inguinal hernias do not resolve on their own, and thus in many cases a surgery is required to repair them. A surgical repair of an inguinal hernia is required if the hernia is large and is getting larger, pain increases, and completing daily tasks has become challenging.
Surgery can either be open or laparoscopic. In open surgery, the doctor makes an incision above the hernia and pushes the protruding tissues, organs, or fat back where they belong. A mesh is then placed over the abdominal wall or weak spot in order to strengthen it.
Laparoscopic surgery is when a doctor makes a few holes in the abdomen, and a small light and camera are inserted, so the surgeon can see through the keyholes. They will then insert tools so they can maneuver the protruded tissues back, and upon completion the holes are stitched or glued back together.
Generally, there is less pain experienced and a quicker recovery during a laparoscopic surgery compared to open surgery. Both forms of surgery can still result in complications, and so in order to choose the right surgery it is best you speak to your doctor.