Surgical mesh

NICE recommends switch to specialist glues during hernia operations

In new guidance from the National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE), clinicians are being urged to consider the use of specialist glues instead of tacks to secure surgical mesh during hernia operations.

The recommendation can be found in the NICE MedTech Innovation Briefing and has been issued following a Value Based Procurement project carried out by the Sterile Intervention and Associated Consumables team at NHS Supply Chain.

Each year, 70,000 hernia operations are carried out in the UK but only 10% use glues to secure surgical mesh, with the majority using either plastic or metal tackers instead.

Rob Wilcockson, Senior Category Manager at NHS Supply Chain, said: “This is a really significant guidance document because of the improvements it offers to the patient pathway.

“The guidance makes clear the many benefits that patients will get from this change and ultimately that is what all of us in the NHS are here to do so this is a game changer from that perspective alone. The glue eventually disappears within the body whereas with a tacker you have something in your body and that always has the potential for something to cause pain at a later point.”

The potential benefits of using specialist glues, per NICE’s briefing, include:

  • Reduced postoperative and chronic pain.
  • Fewer postoperative complications.
  • Reduced risk of hernia recurrence.
  • Reduced length of hospital stays.
  • Earlier return to work and usual activities.
  • Improved patient quality of life.

Ian Dodd, Clinical Engagement and Implementation Manager at NHS Supply Chain, said: “There are millions of pounds of savings to be made nationally by preventing patients returning to GPs or hospitals with pain caused by the tackers put in their bodies during a hernia operation.

“That improves the lives of patients but also has financial savings from the prevented repeat appointments and frees up the time of those clinicians to deal with other patients.”

Glues that meet the standards set out in the NICE MedTech Innovation Briefing are available via NHS Supply Chain’s Surgical Mesh Framework.

More information about the new recommendation is available here.

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