Hernia from Hell Treated with Biologic Mesh

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Hernia from Hell Treated with Biologic Mesh

Story in Sarasota Herald-Tribune

February 6, 2012 ~ James Fico had a problem. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (here) reports on the North Port man’s basketball-size hernia that protruded from his belly for more than five years. (Caution- the photos in this article are not for the weak of heart).

Unfortunately for Fico, 62, he had had a major heart attack and kidney cancer and could not be treated for the hernia as he was on the mend. Also complicating his care was the fact that he was unemployed and did not have medical insurance.

In January, Vascular surgeon, Jonathan Yunis, M.D., from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, performed a two-hour hernia repair. Dr. Yunis specializes in hernias and does some 500 surgeries every year. He even travels to remote areas of the world to perform hernia surgery, but he says he had never seen a hernia the size of the one he repaired in Fico.

To do the complex operation, Fico’s intestines had to be put back into his body and the opening in the abdominal wall was closed with a biologic mesh, Strattice, made by LifeCell (here). Dr. Yunis tells MDND he chose a biologic because of the lower risk of infection.

Strattice is made from pig skin that is processed to take out the living tissue leaving behind pure collagen. Biologics have a lower risk of infection, but a higher risk of recurrence than plastic, he says. Dr. Yunis says he would never use the AlloDerm biologic mesh in hernia repair as was used in Sheri Ragan, see her Patient Profile (here).

Obesity, diabetes and smoking all complicate any hernia repair. Before surgery, Fico had to lose about 100 pounds (he was 355 pounds). That was vital to his survival because as he gained weight after his heart attack and cancer, the hernia grew larger. With the size of the hernia coupled with Fico’s lack of insurance, most doctors didn’t want to touch it.

Dr. Yunis had to create a new abdominal wall, he tells the newspaper, which he reinforced with mesh. Plastic polypropylene mesh carries a high risk of infection, though he blames failures with polypropylene mesh largely on his colleagues more than the manufacturers. He believes some surgeons use the wrong mesh for the wrong hernia.

“With obesity and previous abdominal surgery, mesh can get infected,” Dr. Yunnis tells MDND.  Using synthetic mesh laparoscopically the risk of infection is low, but we couldn’t do it that way on this patient. With Strattice I’m not worried about the bad complications of mesh.” #


Dr Jonathan Yunis


On staff at  Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota and runs the Center for Hernia Repair in Sarasota.


By | 2012-02-07T12:52:40+00:00 February 7th, 2012|Hernia Mesh Injuries, Media Reports|19 Comments

About the Author:

I’m National News Editor, Jane Akre and I began Mesh Medical Device News Desk aka Mesh News Desk (MND) in the summer of 2011 just after the Food and Drug Administration issued an explicit warning to the public that complications associated with surgical mesh used for prolapse repair (POP) and incontinence (SUI) are NOT rare! That was the starting point for the litigation you see today and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women whose lives have been altered, some permanently, by the use of this petroleum-based product.


  1. Hernia hospital Toronto February 9, 2012 at 2:01 am - Reply

    Nice story! Thumbs up for your post, it would be more attractive if you could add snaps too.

  2. Lenore Maio March 19, 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    I am having ongoing complications after an open hernia repair with biologic mesh. After 6 weeks and potentially a 5th procedure to drain a second deep seroma (the first subdermal site seems resolved after 3 drains and procedures and fluid therapy with doxcycline to sclerose) like site my doctors do not seem to have any idea how to stop the reaction to the mesh and say it cannot be removed/rectified. I am searching for a surgeon/physician who has successfully treated a reactive patient who is unable to complete the healing process due to ongoing reaction with fluid collection and venous blood inclusion in the deep area.

    • Jane Akre March 19, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      Lenore, also contact Bruce Rosenberg 954-701-5094… he is up to date on the competent physicians who understand mesh complications.. thank you.

  3. Carla Gilliam December 23, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Jane, have there been any recalls on the mesh Strattice? My mom is having some problems in her abdomen.

    She had big hernias repaired using this particular mesh. I just want to know if there has been problems with

    this mesh at all. Thanks, Carla

    • Michelle April 17, 2015 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Carla, yes there have been recalls for Strattice. I had it done and 2 years later I amost died. I don’t mean to scare you but, it is the truth I was in the hos for 3 months, medically induced into a coma. When woke found ut I had gone back to the OR, for a dvt. Then, when asked to move my legs my left leg wasn’t moving, nothing. Had a abbess on a nerve. Had to learn to re walk, still have a lot of problems, need more surg due to this mesh. I had pain in my lower abdomen and just got worse to the point I couldn’t stand. The pain was very low, pubic bone and lower. Throwing up blood, in fected so bad. they put me on the OR table within hours. But told my family I wouldn’t make it. I know they game me 22 pints of blood in the OR alone. said I make the medical books by the grace of God. Please get her to another doctor.

      • Pamela M March 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm - Reply

        You wrote the book for me. Exact same issues. Went to hospital for hernia repair. Spent over 5 weeks in ICU. Dvt right leg, pulmonary embolism, and many many infections. They used Strattice biological mesh. My surgery was March 2015. Do you knows of any recalls.

        • Jane Akre March 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm - Reply

          Physiomesh by Ethicon ( J&J) was taken off the market, not a recall. It is the subject of lawsuits. Please do not rely on the FDA as any indication of safety, they simply do not recall often. Voluntary recalls is what manufacturers quietly do. Atrium Medical’s C-Qur is also the subject of litigation.

          • Pamela M March 15, 2017 at 11:36 pm

            Hi Jane,
            Thank you for your information.
            Went to my doctor on Friday. He ordered a CAT scan. Omg I definitely have a huge hernia once again. Worse yet they discovered I have an apparent fistula. Now I need further tests and major surgery. I believe my hospital records will confirm that during my original 6 week hospital admission there were concerns at that time that I showed symptoms of a fistula. I also just had vascular surgery on Saturday. Please if you can guide me any further that would be appreciated. I am about to give up. Everyday it’s another serious problem.

          • Jane Akre March 16, 2017 at 10:51 am

            Hi Pamela… I’m so sorry. Where are you located? You can write me privately janeakre@meshnewsdesk.com Always I recommend people talk to Bruce Rosenberg, patient advocate 954-701-5094.

  4. Laura August 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    I have had hernia repair surgery three times. The last one was on January 14, 2014. My doctor used the Strattice mesh. I got an infection in the middle of February and spent 10 days in the hospital, seven of them in isolation because it was a new infection. One that they didn’t know too much about. Then in May I got two more infections. My stomach is still sore, stomach pains also (upper and lower). Sometimes it feels like someone is sticking a knife in my belly. Is this normal?

    • Jane Akre August 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Laura- I’d call Bruce Rosenberg…. but no pain like a knife is not normal so many years later is my understanding. 954-701-5094

  5. Dorothy Maudsley September 8, 2016 at 7:22 am - Reply

    I had surgery 10/30/2016 My Bladder and Colon were twisted and also had small opening like ready to come out of me. Sent home with Drains One-Blood the other for Urine Had two blood blisters come out after three-four weeks went to Dr and he broke the blisters and I continued to see Reconstructed Doctor Started to get better but had pain like someone stuck Knife in me and twisted it and burning . Then few months later the other side of incision got more bubbles but filled with clear liquid. Have problems still Belly swells up and looks like I have tire below belly button

  6. lkp December 9, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Strattice biologic pig skin hernia mesh nearly killed me. I developed Sepsis and then renal failure after it was implanted. Additionally , I swelled horribly and the product became lax and failed. When they were able to remove it they had to chip it out of me and it took 1 1/2 hour to remove as it became not only stretched,but super hard. Run Run Run From these products. They do not work.

  7. Terri February 22, 2017 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    I had a BIG surgery in 2012 to repair my abdominal wall, from gangrene and sepsis after a perforated small bowel. Had a small bowel fistula, lysis of adhesions, Strattice was used, after my trauma surgeon lied to me and fiancé about NO mesh in me! I picked up operative reports today! I have Lot #, and name of implant, size, etc. In 2013, following several hospitalizations for partial, and complete obstructions, I had another surgery with another surgeon, and still to today, have obstructions, infections, inflammation in my belly, hundreds, not embellishing! of hospitalizations. My veins are now so bad I had to have a Super port placed this last month. I had an obstruction in Nov, of 2016, and another in Jan, of 2017! I’m so tired of pain!! I am on opioids medication, depressed,and ready to give up! Someone out there, help!!

    • Jane Akre February 22, 2017 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      Do you have a doctor? a lawyer? let us know where you are….I’m so sorry…

  8. Terri February 22, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Also, the right side of my abdomen swells up, for no reason! Feels like a basketball! I had lysis of adhesions in 2013 as well. I am so tired of being ill! Is affecting my quality of life!

  9. Lorie July 11, 2017 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    I have to have surgery sept 11th to take out surgipro mesh. She wants to put in Strattice and insists on using something. I don’t feel good about it. Especially after reading. what all of you have said. it there any good mesh?

    • Jane Akre July 11, 2017 at 5:35 pm - Reply

      See if your surgeon is capable of doing a non mesh repair and if you are a candidate. Many docs now will not use mesh unless there is the very last resort… there is a reason for that.

  10. ronald maiorano January 3, 2018 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    you think this is the biggest hernia repair you ever done? You haven’t seen anything oe heard anything to you hear what happened to me , I had 4 different mesh put in me they all failed . It started with a biodegradable type mesh in me 2008 than 2009 stratus it failed than in 2010 vicrly it failed than 2013 Proceed they all are ng and no atturney has yet been able to say they can help me my quality of life is a living HELL~~~~!!!!

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