Int J Med Sci 2016; 13(2):108-112. doi:10.7150/ijms.14056

Research Paper

Impairment of the Peritoneal Surface as a Decisive Factor for Intestinal Adhesions in Intraperitoneal Onlay Mesh Surgery - Introducing a New Rat Model

M Winny1*, L Grethe1*, L Maegel2, D Jonigk2, T Lippmann2, J Klempnauer1, D Poehnert1 ✉

1. Clinic for General, Abdominal and Transplant Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Germany;
2. Institute of Pathology, Hannover Medical School, Germany.
*contributed equally to this work

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Winny M, Grethe L, Maegel L, Jonigk D, Lippmann T, Klempnauer J, Poehnert D. Impairment of the Peritoneal Surface as a Decisive Factor for Intestinal Adhesions in Intraperitoneal Onlay Mesh Surgery - Introducing a New Rat Model. Int J Med Sci 2016; 13(2):108-112. doi:10.7150/ijms.14056. Available from

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Background: Meshes implanted intraperitoneally are known to cause adhesions potentially resulting in complications such as chronic pain, enterocutaneous fistula, or mesh infection. This study introduces a model for investigation of intestine-to-mesh adhesions and evaluates as to whether missing of visceral peritoneum is causative.

Methods: In 18 rats, rectangular 1.5 x 2 cm patches of an uncoated polypropylene mesh (Ultrapro®) were sewn to the inner abdominal wall next to the cecum. Additionally, a meso-suture ensured contact between cecum and mesh. Rats were assigned to 2 groups: in 8 rats the peritoneum was left intact, in 10 the cecum was depleted from peritoneum with abrasion. Sacrifice was on day 7. Macroscopic evaluation used two adhesion scores. Specimens were evaluated microscopically, statistical analyses employed student's t-test.

Results: On day 7, rats with mesh implantation combined with locally de-peritonealization by cecal abrasion mostly showed severe cecum-to-mesh agglutination (mean Lauder score 92%, mean total Hoffmann score 90%), whereas meshes of most animals without cecal abrasion only had some coverage with intraabdominal fat (33%, 24%; p = 0.0002). Histological work-up showed adequate wall ingrowth of mesh in all rats. In animals with cecal abrasion, meshes were mostly adhesive with cecal wall. However, when the peritoneum of cecum was unimpaired, abdominal wall above the mesh as well as cecum usually revealed sub-peritoneal tissue and a mono-layer cell coverage as seen in normal peritoneum.

Conclusion: This study introduces a model mimicking a clinical situation of e.g. hernia repair by intraperitoneally implanted meshes when mesh has contact with normal and with de-peritonealized intestine. The model might be useful for testing mesh types and coatings as well as other devices for their efficacy in adhesion prevention. The high adhesion scores of rats with local de-peritonealization compared with the low scores of animals with intact peritoneum indicate that the integrity of intestinal peritoneum is a decisive factor for adhesion formation.

Keywords: Hernia mesh repair, intraperitoneal onlay mesh surgery, Polypropylene mesh, Adhesion formation, Experimental study, Cecal abrasion.