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We conduct clinical and basic science research to reduce the incidence of inicisional hernias and to improve outcomes from hernia repair.

Basic Research

Infection, Injury & Immunity Lab

The Infection Injury and Immunity Lab is dedicated to the resolution of complications common in the surgical setting. For the past two decades, we have been investigating the immunologic processes behind the body's response to serious and difficult to treat infections, as well as developing treatments for wound healing and hernia prevention with the aim to contribute toward novel therapeutic approaches in the clinic and operating room.

Sepsis is presently the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for about 25% of ICU hospitalizations. It is also the most expensive condition for the healthcare system, at an annual cost of over $20 billion. Simultaneously, 10-20% of all abdominal wall incisions in the United States are currently resulting in ventral hernias, adding over $8 billion annually to healthcare costs. Our lab is working toward solutions to improve septic outcome and decrease the rate of occurrence and reoccurrence of ventral hernias via both laboratory and clinical research.

Harris Lab

Clinical Research

Complex Ventral Hernia Repair Using Biologic or Synthetic Mesh 
Study ID: Complex Ventral Hernia Repair Principal Investigator: 
Hobart W. Harris, M.D., M.P.H.


Hernias are often treated using a prosthetic mesh to add support to the healing wound. Prosthetic meshes have been used for decades to repair ventral hernias, level 1 data regarding which type of mesh to use is limited. The purpose of this study is to compare the effects, good and/or bad, of two types of prosthetic meshes: one that is made from pig skin (called a "biologic prosthetic"), and one that is made in a laboratory (called a "synthetic prosthetic"). This study will include some patients who have an infection in/near the hernia, and other patients who do not have an infection. We expect the synthetic mesh to be associated with a higher rate of early post-operative surgical site infection and fluid collections (seromas), while we expect the biologic mesh to be associated with a higher rate of recurrence.
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