Background Prosthetic materials for the repair of abdominal wall defects have been studied extensively to improve outcome. A new approach can be the use of a slowly resorbable synthetic mesh, which aims to combine advantages of both synthetic and biological meshes. The objective of this review is to give an overview of the physicochemical characteristics and biomechanical, histological, and macroscopic outcome (recurrence, adhesion formation) of the use of resorbable synthetic meshes, for treatment and prevention of abdominal wall hernias, based on experimental studies.

Methods A systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Only experimental studies were included. Outcome parameters were resorption, degradation, organization of connective tissue, inflammatory response, tensile strength, and amount of adhesion formation. Surgical characteristics were taken into account as well (type of defect, clean versus contaminated model, position mesh, repair of the defect, recurrences).

Results In total, eleven articles were included. Three absorbable synthetic meshes are currently available: GORE BIO-A mesh (Gore), TIGR Matrix Surgical mesh (Novus Scientific), and Phasix mesh (Bard). Two studies concluded that, despite an early transient inflammatory reaction in the first months, remodeling was good in GORE BIO-A, 6-12 mo after augmentation or suture line reinforcement with only minimal to moderate adhesions when used intraperitoneally. The TIGR Matrix Surgical mesh shows only partial remodeling with a persistent foreign body reaction after 1 y. Phasix mesh seems to perform well in extraperitoneal implantation after 1 y in two studies, although the defect was small. Only two studies directly compared two resorbable synthetic meshes under the same circumstances. The latter also included a number of animals where the meshes were used in a contaminated nonhernia model. No hernia recurrences or deaths of animals were described in all studies.

Conclusions The use of resorbable synthetic meshes in the prevention or treatment of abdominal wall defects in animal experiments with small defects in clean setting seems safe, with no serious complications related to the device during short-term follow-up. However, there is no evidence available that can support the advantages of resorbable synthetic meshes over the use of synthetic or biological meshes, mostly due to lack of good data. More experimental studies are needed, followed by randomized controlled trials and prospective registries in humans with a sufficiently long follow-up period, to reveal the potential advantages in clinical practice.

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Keywords Abdominal wall hernia, Biosynthetic mesh, Resorbable synthetic mesh, Experimental studies, Review
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Journal Journal of Surgical Research
Miserez, M, Jairam, A.P, ter Hoeve-Boersema, G.S.A, Bayon, Y, Jeekel, J, & Lange, J.F. (2019). Resorbable Synthetic Meshes for Abdominal Wall Defects in Preclinical Setting: A Literature Review. Journal of Surgical Research, 237, 67–75. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2018.11.054