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Synthetic Mesh Epidemic

Ralph talks to hernia surgeon, Dr. Robert Bendavid and whistleblower journalist, Jane Akre about all of the problems arising from the use of surgical mesh.  Plus, Ralph answers listener questions!


Dr. Robert Bendavid is a leading hernia surgeon and past president and a founding father of the American Hernia Society.  Dr. Bendavid has performed thousands of procedures and is presently associated with the Shouldice Hospital in Toronto.


Jane Akre is the founder and editor of the Mesh Medical Device News Desk .  She has been a journalist for nearly 30 years working as a broadcaster, anchor and reporter at stations all around the country as well as CNN.  Ms. Akre has won numerous awards including the Society of Professional Journalists Award for Ethics as well as the Goldman Prize, North America 2001 for environmental reporting.  She and her husband successfully challenged News Corp after it tried to suppress a story about synthetic bovine growth hormone produced by Monsanto and used in much of the nation’s dairy supply. That whistleblowing lawsuit was featured in the documentary, “The Corporation.”


  1. Cheryll white says:

    Thank you Jane, I suffered TVM , for prolapse in 2004, by 2010 Lupus, 2015 mesh severed spleen, 1 year of chemo,,now aquired hemophilia factor vlll from mesh, it is tragic, thank you in advance.

  2. Denise Schrader says:

    I know these dangers of medical mesh, especially hernia mesh…. I got mine in 10/22/2010 and got it out 11/05/2010….. along with everything that was sewn to it, that’s right they left it sewn in and cut out everything that was attached, including abdominal muscles, nerves, belly button, and anything that was touching mesh…. you don’t have to have a hernia for a dr to try to put a hernia patch on you… don’t have to hurt, be blown out, or even showing…. I had a incisional hernia 2.5cm over a Aortobifemoral bypass, which mesh shouldn’t have been put on top of much less what the dr stated in his reports, he just so happened to see a umbilical hernia when he was under my breast bone and made a bigger mess having a hole the size of a NERF FOOTBALL.

  3. Barbara guillette says:

    Love you Ralph

  4. Arron Tatlow says:

    Hi I live in Manchester United Kingdom, in 2005 after surgery on my abdomen I was diagnosed with incisional hernia on the scar in the midline of my abdomen, I was told I needed to wait a couple of years before it could be repaired. In 2007 I had a on lay synthetic mesh repair, that’s when my problems really started I was in so much pain I described it to my Dr as having thousands of bees inside me all stinging me at the same time it fell on death ears.
    The hernia repair failed and in 2009 it was operated on again and more mesh inserted after this operation the pain was worse and my throat and cheeks swelled up they gave me no answer for this but took both my parotic glands of my throat which left me very scared. The pain continued the surgeons said there was nothing wrong with me and it was as result of so much surgery. 2011 hernia operated on again more mesh put in developed infection afterward and was in severe pain for months. 2012 after so many complaints was given the chance of surgery to remove the synthetic mesh and replace it with biological mesh, they didn’t remove the plastic mesh and fitted biological mesh under it and used more plastic mesh on the top of it. This resulted in severe infection and the development of a fistula on my abdominal wall with the hole the size of an American football, I spent 12 months in hospital before undergoing abdominal wall construction in 2013 been a mess ever since then in 2016 was operated on again by a top surgeon who as fitted biological mesh inside my abdominal wall. Its a year after operation now and the pain seems to be getting worse not better yet I am told everything is healing fine yet I have very little quality of life. I see it as they have took my life away from me not saved it like they say. I see the future just containing lots of misery for me. if there is anymore information available I would be grateful to hear it. Thank you.

  5. Abby says:

    It seems these articles keep popping up more and more. It first started with TVM and now hernia meshes are having problems. Are these two somehow related by the materials they are using or is it more related to how the procedure is being done? I saw a bunch of commercials years ago regarding TVM litigation but now looks like hernia mesh lawsuits are taking place too. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out but people do need a solution.

  6. guy voeller says:

    This is a very one-sided podcast in so many ways. I am a hernia surgeon and Dr Bendavid is a friend of mine. He is very biased and the other side should be presented. In addition, he has not operated in many, many years. Nader has no idea what he is talking about

    • Scott says:

      Have you ever done any natural tissue repair
      If customer requested it
      I always thought a surgeon shouldn’t put an implant in someone that’s not easy to take out
      Looks like when mesh works it’s great but if it doesn’t, isn’t getting our tough
      How about people with. Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis how does. Mesh do with that

  7. Lisa says:

    I got my mesh in 06′ HH is not all I had that year also had brain tumor and anyourisoym and becausecI have too have MRI MRA’S every 6mon at first then now once a year. It is now belived that I have Gdolidin toxcity from the contrast (dye) . Now that I an having HH pain and need a repair I am haveing a hard time finding a surgoen too do the repair my Dr in 06’is now retired. I am now 60 and 272lb.s and It seams that unless I flat line once again no Dr wants too take the chance. So too live with this pain is what I have too look forword too soory I also have aphaisa from my brain sergery.

  8. Tony says:

    Why has no mesh company looked into making far superior mesh from hemp ? It would be stronger than the petroleum based polypropylene mesh and would almost certainly cause far fewer complications – that is – if hernia procedure teachers and their surgeons insist on continuing to use mesh as their sole method of operation. Hemp is natural and not synthetic, and was for many hundreds of years , and still is , used to make rope , ships rigging , and fishing nets among many other uses. I think if such a product were to be widely available it wouldn’t take long to totally replace synthetic mesh due to hemp’s superiority . However, perhaps for the FDA , but absolutely not for far happier hernia patients, this common sense approach would be problematic .

  9. Joe Keller says:

    Dear Dr. Bendavid,

    I have been diagnosed with bilateral inguinal hernias. I met with a few surgeons in the Boston area and they all recommended a laparoscopic mesh repair. I read the transcript of your debate with Dr. Voeller on the risks of chronic pain resulting from installation of meshes. Unfortunately I have not been able to find surgeons that practice the Shouldice repair in the Boston area, despite the outstanding reputation of its hospitals. Do you know of any surgeon in the Boston area, or the US East Coast, who are proficient in the Shouldice technique and that you would recommend?

    Thank you,
    Joe Keller

  10. F Gross says:

    Why does the Stony Brook hospital charge 4 times more than Shouldice for the same procedure?