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Home E-Weekly February 2, 2016

Jury's Still Out on Benefits of Biological Meshes

Published: February 1, 2016

Biological hernia meshes may carry a bigger price tag than their synthetic alternatives, but that doesn't mean they deliver better patient outcomes.

In fact, an evidence-based comparison suggests that the less expensive option may be the best overall value for healthcare facilities and patients alike, researchers write in JAMA Surgery.

For the analysis, researchers reviewed studies that looked at the cost and efficiency of biologic mesh. In 3 that directly compared biologic and synthetic options, the comparisons were marred by varied follow-up times, surgical technique, type of mesh and patient selection criteria.

Additionally, the researchers found that all of the biologic meshes used in the studies were approved by the FDA for their "substantial equivalence" to synthetic meshes already on the market. For these reasons, the authors write that the use of costlier biologic mesh over synthetic options "cannot be justified."

"Greater application of evidence-based medicine will help control these increasing costs," says Edward Livingston, MD, senior author of the study. "The use of biological mesh materials for hernia repair is one of many examples in which significant costs could be avoided by tailoring clinical practice based on careful review of the evidence."

Kendal Gapinski

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