Hernia operations are among the most common surgical procedures performed today with over 20 million cases annually worldwide. Hernia incidents are associated with pain and poor quality-of-life for the patient and lead to enormous healthcare costs, exceeding US $48 billion in the US annually.
At present, hernia operations rely heavily on non-degradable polypropylene, polytetrafluoroethylene and nylon meshes. However, these polymers are often associated with foreign body reaction; implant failure; and hernia reoccurrence (over 42%). Moreover, leaking chemicals of these polymers are often deleterious to the surrounding cells and tissue and immobilise post-operative drug treatments. In addition, the process technologies are often associated with environmental risks. Herein, we propose a novel approach that employs recent advances in green nanotechnology and sustainable raw materials for scaffold fabrication that not only will eliminate toxic chemicals from the processes, but will also enhance functional repair due to superior biological properties. Specifically, we aim to fabricate a nano-fibrous mesh with well-defined nano-topography using cellulose; human recombinant collagen, derived from transgenic tobacco plants; and biodegradable polylactic/polyglycolic acid as raw materials.
The green credentials of this innovative approach lie in the use of sustainable eco-friendly raw materials that will produce biodegradable waste products and therefore replacing hazardous chemicals currently in use. Thus, this proposal directly fits the call for the substitution of materials or components with ‘green nano-technology’.