Hernia from Hell Treated with Biologic Mesh

Feb 7th, 2012 | By | Category: Hernia Mesh Injuries, Media Reports

Story in Sarasota Herald-Tribune

February 6, 2012 ~ James Fico had a problem. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (here) reports on the North Port man’s basketball-size hernia that protruded from his belly for more than five years. (Caution- the photos in this article are not for the weak of heart).

Unfortunately for Fico, 62, he had had a major heart attack and kidney cancer and could not be treated for the hernia as he was on the mend. Also complicating his care was the fact that he was unemployed and did not have medical insurance.

In January, Vascular surgeon, Jonathan Yunis, M.D., from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, performed a two-hour hernia repair. Dr. Yunis specializes in hernias and does some 500 surgeries every year. He even travels to remote areas of the world to perform hernia surgery, but he says he had never seen a hernia the size of the one he repaired in Fico.

To do the complex operation, Fico’s intestines had to be put back into his body and the opening in the abdominal wall was closed with a biologic mesh, Strattice, made by LifeCell (here). Dr. Yunis tells MDND he chose a biologic because of the lower risk of infection.

Strattice is made from pig skin that is processed to take out the living tissue leaving behind pure collagen. Biologics have a lower risk of infection, but a higher risk of recurrence than plastic, he says. Dr. Yunis says he would never use the AlloDerm biologic mesh in hernia repair as was used in Sheri Ragan, see her Patient Profile (here).

Obesity, diabetes and smoking all complicate any hernia repair. Before surgery, Fico had to lose about 100 pounds (he was 355 pounds). That was vital to his survival because as he gained weight after his heart attack and cancer, the hernia grew larger. With the size of the hernia coupled with Fico’s lack of insurance, most doctors didn’t want to touch it.

Dr. Yunis had to create a new abdominal wall, he tells the newspaper, which he reinforced with mesh. Plastic polypropylene mesh carries a high risk of infection, though he blames failures with polypropylene mesh largely on his colleagues more than the manufacturers. He believes some surgeons use the wrong mesh for the wrong hernia.

“With obesity and previous abdominal surgery, mesh can get infected,” Dr. Yunnis tells MDND.  Using synthetic mesh laparoscopically the risk of infection is low, but we couldn’t do it that way on this patient. With Strattice I’m not worried about the bad complications of mesh.” #


Dr Jonathan Yunis

On staff at  Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota and runs the Center for Hernia Repair in Sarasota.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments to “Hernia from Hell Treated with Biologic Mesh”

  1. Nice story! Thumbs up for your post, it would be more attractive if you could add snaps too.

  2. Lenore Maio says:

    I am having ongoing complications after an open hernia repair with biologic mesh. After 6 weeks and potentially a 5th procedure to drain a second deep seroma (the first subdermal site seems resolved after 3 drains and procedures and fluid therapy with doxcycline to sclerose) like site my doctors do not seem to have any idea how to stop the reaction to the mesh and say it cannot be removed/rectified. I am searching for a surgeon/physician who has successfully treated a reactive patient who is unable to complete the healing process due to ongoing reaction with fluid collection and venous blood inclusion in the deep area.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Lenore, also contact Bruce Rosenberg 954-701-5094… he is up to date on the competent physicians who understand mesh complications.. thank you.

  3. Carla Gilliam says:

    Jane, have there been any recalls on the mesh Strattice? My mom is having some problems in her abdomen.
    She had big hernias repaired using this particular mesh. I just want to know if there has been problems with
    this mesh at all. Thanks, Carla

    • Michelle says:

      Carla, yes there have been recalls for Strattice. I had it done and 2 years later I amost died. I don’t mean to scare you but, it is the truth I was in the hos for 3 months, medically induced into a coma. When woke found ut I had gone back to the OR, for a dvt. Then, when asked to move my legs my left leg wasn’t moving, nothing. Had a abbess on a nerve. Had to learn to re walk, still have a lot of problems, need more surg due to this mesh. I had pain in my lower abdomen and just got worse to the point I couldn’t stand. The pain was very low, pubic bone and lower. Throwing up blood, in fected so bad. they put me on the OR table within hours. But told my family I wouldn’t make it. I know they game me 22 pints of blood in the OR alone. said I make the medical books by the grace of God. Please get her to another doctor.

Leave a Comment