Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine used a 3D bioprinter to fabricate a Biomesh using a polymer called phosphate cross-linked poly (vinyl alcohol) polymer (X-PVA) for an innovative new treatment of hernias. The complete study was published in Advanced Materials.
The hernia is one of the most common soft tissue injuries, which forms when intra-abdominal content, such as a loop of the intestine, squeezes through weak, defective, or injured areas of the abdominal wall. The condition may develop serious complications, therefore hernia repair may be recommended. Repair consists of surgically implanting a prosthetic mesh to support and reinforce the damaged abdominal wall and facilitate the healing process. However, currently used mesh implants are associated with potentially adverse post-surgical complications.
Through thorough experimentation, the researchers optimized the mechanical properties so the mesh would withstand maximal abdominal pressure repeatedly without any deterioration of its mechanical strength for several months. They also showed that their Biomesh did not degrade or reduce its elastic properties over time and was not toxic to human cells.
“Although hernia mesh implants are mechanically strong and support abdominal tissue, making the patient feel comfortable initially, it is a common problem that about three days after surgery the implant can drive inflammation that in two to three weeks will affect organs nearby,” said Dr. Crystal Shin, assistant professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and lead author of this study looking to find a solution to postsurgical hernia complications.”To address these complications, we developed a non-pharmacological approach by designing a novel mesh that, in addition to providing mechanical support to the injury site, also acts as an inflammation-modulating system. A major innovation to our design is the development of a Biomesh that can reduce inflammation and, as a result, minimize tissue adhesion to the mesh that leads to pain and failure of the surgery”.