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Pricey biological mesh materials used to fix hernias aren’t any better than low-cost, synthetic options, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery.

Abdominal hernia surgeries are fairly common in the United States — in 2012, there were 190,000 inpatient procedures to fix the swelling or protrusion of organs or tissue in the abdomen. Back in the ’90s, surgeons started using expensive natural materials to repair hernias. But a review of 20 studies testing different meshes finds that outcomes were good using synthetic mesh, which costs about a third less.

Sterilized mosquito nets might be another cheap alternative to the surgical mesh that runs $100 a procedure to repair inguinal hernias, according to research published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine.


A randomized clinical trial of 300 men in Uganda found that hernias healed just as well using the mesh from mosquito nets as from conventional surgical mesh.

Hernias usually require surgery, but nearly 200 million cases a year are untreated, sometimes because of the relatively costly materials.


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