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Surgical meshes containing animal products should be labelled

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 27 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4625
  1. Muhammad Hanif Shiwani, consultant general surgeon, Barnsley General Hospital, and honorary senior clinical lecturer, University of Sheffield
  1. mhshiwani{at}

Surgical techniques to repair hernia in the abdominal wall have evolved. Repair with suture alone is associated with a high risk of recurrence, and use of mesh has become routine in contemporary practice. Advances in molecular biology and tissue engineering have furthered the development of surgical meshes. Many types of mesh are available, including pure synthetic, pure biological, and composite and tissue separating meshes, and no single mesh is perfect for every situation. Many new products are entering the market, the origin and composition of which are not always obvious. Biological and composite meshes may contain porcine or bovine tissue. In my experience colleagues, including surgeons with a special interest in hernia surgery, are generally unaware of the constituents of these meshes.

The UK General Medical Council gives guidance to doctors …

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