Every year, thousand of people experience the uncomfortable sensation of a hernia. This problem can often be difficult to overcome, and for athletes, can completely change their style of play on the field, ice, or court. Dr. Edelman is the Director of the
Laparoscopic Surgery Center at Baptist Hospital in South Florida and is the general surgeon for the Miami Heat. He has just pioneered a new procedure using the material, Surgisis Biodesign, developed by Cook Medical along with Purdue University. I sat down with Dr. Edelman for an interview about this new procedure and what it means for athletes around the world.
Q: Thank you Dr. Edelman for giving us some of your time. First of all, I’d like to ask you, what types of hernias does the procedure cover?
A: There are many types of abdominal wall hernias. The groin or “inguinal” region is the most common. The second most common site of a hernia is the umbilicus. Any previous incision in the abdominal wall is at risk of developing a hernia, but this is the least common site of a hernia. Athletes develop a different type of groin hernia known as a “Sport’s” or “Sportsman’s” hernia. Athletes usually have very developed and strong muscles which can tear away from bones or tendons. If this happens in the groin, the athlete will notice a decrease in ability and may experience pain.
Q: What was the previous procedure for handling these types of hernias before Surgisis option?
A: Open surgery is still being done by many surgeons and is the standard from which I was taught. Over the past 15 years I have developed an expertise in using Minimal Access Surgery using tiny telescopes and video technology to gain access into the groin and repair hernias. Mesh, a fiberglass-like material, is commonly used to re-inforce and repair the muscle tear until the introduction of Surgisis 8 years ago.
Q: How does this newer procedure from Surgisis work?
A: Surgisis is made from the intestine of pigs. It is altered in the laboratory and only the collagen is preserved. This collagen is a stimulus for the human body to introduce specialized cells that form scar tissue that is eventually changed and restructured into the patient’s own tissue and muscle. Over the course of 4-6 months, Surgisis is incorporated into the patients own muscle and becomes soft and pliable, but very strong unlike the previous mesh screen which was hard and often caused stiffness. As a result, there is less pain and discomfort and a more rapid return to activity. Surgisis also has cells that decrease the chance of infection and combined with Minimal Access Surgery, the scars are smaller. With this new combined procedure, I have had athletes back on the field or court in 2 weeks instead of 6-8 weeks!
Q: With regards to the Surgisis Biodesign material, is it currently out of the price range of the general public?
A: The price of Surgisis is the least expensive of any of the alternative biomaterials.It is approximately $200 to $500 depending on the size or shape. The other biologic mesh runs about $2000.
Q: Are there any other potential uses in other procedures for Surgisis Biodesign?
A: Yes, it is used for hiatal hernia repair, urinary incontinence treatment, anal fistula, a substitute for the urinary bladder, dura of the brain and has been tried for the repair of many body parts.
I would like to thank Dr. Edelman for providing us with the opportunity for the interview.