Biomimetically designed implantable plastic mesh reduces bacterial infections

November 08, 2019

A polypropylene mesh for hernia treatment incorporating antibacterial properties developed by Parx Plastics NV (Rotterdam, Netherlands) was found to have a significantly lower bacteria count than a conventional polypropylene mesh in a pre-clinical study. The results of the study, which was conducted at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, have been published in the Journal of Surgical Research.

Parx Plastics hernia mesh

A hernia may be caused by part of the intestine protruding through a weak point in the abodominal wall. Unless it is a severe case, which would require removal of part of the intestine, hernia repair typically involves re-positioning the intestine in the body cavity and sealing the site with a mesh. It is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States and Europe, and demand is rising because of growing elderly and obese populations, noted a press release from Parx Plastics.

It is not uncommon for the implanted mesh to become infected, requiring revision surgery. This may lead to patient morbidity. It also may require an extended hospital stay and increased healthcare costs.

The mesh developed by Parx Plastics combats bacterial infection without the use of biocides or other harmful substances. The patented technology, developed through a biomimetic approach inspired by nature, uses zinc, an essential trace element that is “present in food and necessary in our daily diet for a healthy immune system and for building up cells, skin, hair and nails,” said the company. Moreover, the technology is completely safe, according to Parx, because no substances can leach from the mesh, as the antibacterial property is the “result of an intrinsic change” in the material that cannot migrate.

In the pre-clinical study, polypropylene meshes with and without Parx Plastics’ technology were exposed to a highly contaminated environment. After 90 days, the Parx Plastics mesh was found to have a significantly lower bacteria count than the regular mesh. The company claims that its product reduces the presence of bacteria by more than 99.9% within 24 hours (measured according to ISO 22196). The paper reporting on the study can be accessed here.

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