DOI: 10.1002/jbm.b.35308 ISSN:

Accelerated in vitro oxidative degradation testing of polypropylene surgical mesh

Tanmay Jain, Chinnapatch Tantisuwanno, Arindam Paul, Pavel Takmakov, Abraham Joy, Irada Isayeva, David D. Simon
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


Polypropylene (PP) surgical mesh had reasonable success in repair of hernia and treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI); however, their use for the repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) resulted in highly variable results with lifelong complications in some patients. One of several factors that could be associated with mesh‐related POP complications is changes in the properties of the implanted surgical mesh due to oxidative degradation of PP in vivo. Currently, there are no standardized in vitro bench testing methods available for assessing the susceptibility to oxidative degradation and estimating long‐term in vivo stability of surgical mesh. In this work, we adapted a previously reported automated reactive accelerated aging (aRAA) system, which uses elevated temperatures and high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), for accelerated bench‐top oxidative degradation testing of PP surgical mesh. Since H2O2 is highly unstable at elevated temperatures and for prolonged periods, the aRAA system involves a feedback loop based on electrochemical detection methods to maintain consistent H2O2 concentration in test solutions. Four PP mesh samples with varying mesh knit designs, filament diameter, weight, and % porosity, were selected for testing using aRAA up to 4 weeks and characterized using thermal analysis, Fourier‐transform infrared spectroscopy‐attenuated total reflectance (FTIR‐ATR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Additionally, the oxidation index (OI) values were calculated based on the FTIR‐ATR spectra to estimate the oxidative degradation and oxidation reaction kinetics of PP surgical mesh. The OI values and surface damage in the form of surface flaking, peeling, and formation of transverse cracks increased with aRAA aging time. The aRAA test method introduced here could be used to standardize the assessment of long‐term stability of surgical mesh and may also be adopted for accelerated oxidative degradation testing of other polymer‐based medical devices.

More from our Archive