Next generation surgical meshes for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications: materials, design and emerging manufacturing technologies

Francesca Corduas, Dimitrios Lamprou, Elena Mancuso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
205 Downloads (Pure)


Surgical meshes have been employed in the management of a variety of pathological conditions including hernia, pelvic floor dysfunctions, periodontal guided bone regeneration, wound healing and more recently for breast plastic surgery after mastectomy. These common pathologies affect a wide portion of the worldwide population; therefore, an effective and enhanced treatment is crucial to ameliorate patients’ living conditions both from medical and aesthetic points of view. At present, non-absorbable synthetic polymers are the most widely used class of biomaterials for the manufacturing of mesh implants for hernia, pelvic floor dysfunctions and guided bone regeneration, with polypropylene and poly tetrafluoroethylene being the most common. Biological prostheses, such as surgical grafts, have been employed mainly for breast plastic surgery and wound healing applications. Despite the advantages of mesh implants to the treatment of these conditions, there are still many drawbacks, mainly related to the arising of a huge number of post-operative complications, among which infections are the most common. Developing a mesh that could appropriately integrate with the native tissue, promote its healing and constructive remodelling, is the key aim of ongoing research in the area of surgical mesh implants. To this end, the adoption of new biomaterials including absorbable and natural polymers, the use of drugs and advanced manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing and electrospinning, are under investigation to address the previously mentioned challenges and improve the outcomes of future clinical practice. The aim of this work is to review the key advantages and disadvantages related to the use of surgical meshes, the main issues characterizing each clinical procedure and the future directions in terms of both novel manufacturing technologies and latest regulatory considerations. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-310
Number of pages33
JournalBio-Design and Manufacturing
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • 3D printing
  • Biomaterials
  • Drug delivery
  • Electrospinning
  • Manufacturing technologies
  • Surgical mesh implants


Dive into the research topics of 'Next generation surgical meshes for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications: materials, design and emerging manufacturing technologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this