Ongoing Research Funded by DHF

New Invention – Duramesh™ Sutures – Increases Success of Hiatal Hernia Repair Surgeries for the First Time in Decades

2023  | Disease: Hiatal HerniaGastrointestinal Surgery

Principal Researcher: Ezra N. Teitelbaum, MD, MEd

Co-Principal Researcher: Eric S. Hungness, MD | 

Principal Investigators: Ezra N. Teitelbaum, MD, MEd, Assistant Professor of Surgery (Gastrointestinal), Northwestern Medicine, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

Eric S. Hungness, MD, S. David Stulberg, MD, Professor of Advanced Surgical Education, Professor of Surgery (Gastrointestinal) and Medical Education, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

Hiatal hernias are a digestive disorder that has plagued patients for decades, developing when the stomach abnormally protrudes into the chest through a hole in the diaphragm. These hernias often cause heartburn, swallowing problems, vomiting, and sometimes worse. While laparoscopic hiatal hernia surgery is the gold standard for stitching closed the opening to fix hiatal hernias, this approach has a historically dismal hernia recurrence rate of up to 50%. This is due, in part, to the only suture material currently available for hernia repair that can often inadvertently pull through the tissue when under tension. Used for other types of hernias, permanent mesh reinforcement is the only alternative and cannot be used for hiatal hernias due to the risk of mesh erosion into the esophagus. Supported by this year’s DHF grant, Dr. Ezra Teitelbaum’s team plans to investigate the potential of new mesh sutures (Duramesh™) invented by Northwestern University researchers and just now available at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The novel hybrid makeup of Duramesh™ offers the complementary advantages of both new, flexible mesh and traditional, strong suture materials. This research offers great promise for reducing hernia recurrence after repair to improve patient results and prevent the need for risky redo operations and/or the return of distressing, destructive digestive symptoms.

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