Abdominal Mesh Removal

Abdominal mesh removal is surgery to take out a sheet of material (mesh) that was previously put in the abdomen. Surgical mesh may have been used during a hernia repair or pelvic surgeries. You may need to have this surgery if you have any of these problems:

  • An infection.

  • A reaction to the mesh.

  • Mesh moving in the abdomen.

  • Severe pain.

  • New problems with the abdomen.

  • Mesh falling apart, breaking up, or decaying.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.

  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.

  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.

  • Any blood disorders you have.

  • Any surgeries you have had.

  • Any medical conditions you have.

  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:

  • Infection.

  • Bleeding.

  • Allergic reactions to medicines or dyes.

  • Damage to nearby structures or organs.

What happens before the procedure?

Staying hydrated

Follow instructions from your health care provider about hydration, which may include:

  • Up to 2 hours before the procedure – you may continue to drink clear liquids, such as water, clear fruit juice, black coffee, and plain tea.

Eating and drinking restrictions

Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating and drinking, which may include:

  • 8 hours before the procedure – stop eating heavy meals or foods, such as meat, fried foods, or fatty foods.

  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop eating light meals or foods, such as toast or cereal.

  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop drinking milk or drinks that contain milk.

  • 2 hours before the procedure – stop drinking clear liquids.

Medicines

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  • Ask your health care provider about:

    • Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.

    • Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood. Do not take these medicines unless your health care provider tells you to take them.

    • Taking over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements.

  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic medicine, take it as told by your health care provider. Do not stop using the antibiotic even if you start to feel better.

General instructions

  • Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco for at least 4 weeks before the procedure. These products include cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping devices, such as e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.

  • Ask your health care provider:

    • How your surgery site will be marked.

    • What steps will be taken to help prevent infection. These steps may include:

      • Removing hair at the surgery site.

      • Washing skin with a germ-killing soap.

      • Receiving antibiotic medicine.

  • Plan to have a responsible adult take you home from the hospital or clinic.

What happens during the procedure?

  • An IV will be inserted into one of your veins.

  • You will be given one or more of the following:

    • A medicine to help you relax (sedative).

    • A medicine to numb the area (local anesthetic).

    • A medicine to make you fall asleep (general anesthetic).

  • An incision will be made in your abdomen.

  • The mesh will be cut out and removed from your abdomen.

  • Small tubes may be placed to drain fluid from your body.

  • A small, thin tube (catheter) may be placed to drain urine.

  • The incision will be closed with stitches (sutures), skin glue, or adhesive strips.

  • A bandage (dressing) will be placed over the incision.

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

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  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored until you leave the hospital or clinic.

  • You may be given medicine for pain.

  • If you had a urinary catheter inserted at the time of surgery, it will be removed before you go home.

  • You will be encouraged to walk as soon as possible. You will also use a device (incentive spirometer) or do breathing exercises to keep your lungs clear.

  • You may have a liquid diet at first. You will most likely return to your usual diet the day after surgery.

Summary

  • Abdominal mesh removal is a type of surgery to take out a sheet of material (mesh) that was previously put in the abdomen.

  • You may need to take an antibiotic medicine before the procedure. Take it as told by your health care provider.

  • After the procedure, you will be encouraged to walk as soon as possible. You will also use a device (incentive spirometer) or do breathing exercises to keep your lungs clear.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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