Purpose: Since the introduction of the first prosthetic mesh for abdominal hernia repair, there has been a search for the “ideal mesh.” The use of preclinical or animal models for assessment of necessary characteristics of new and existing meshes is an indispensable part of hernia research. Unfortunately, in our experience there is a lack of consensus among different research groups on which model to use. Therefore, we hypothesized that there is a lack of comparability within published animal research on hernia surgery due to wide range in experimental setup among different research groups.
Methods: A systematic search of the literature was performed to provide a complete overview of all animal models published between 2000 and 2014. Relevant parameters on model characteristics and outcome measurement were scored on a standardized scoring sheet.
Results: Due to the wide range in different animals used, ranging from large animal models like pigs to rodents, we decided to limit the study to 168 articles concerning rat models. Within these rat models, we found wide range of baseline animal characteristics, operation techniques, and outcome measurements. Making reliable comparison of results among these studies is impossible.
Conclusion: There is a lack of comparability among experimental hernia research, limiting the impact of this experimental research. We therefore propose the establishment of guidelines for experimental hernia research by the EHS.