News | October 03, 2007

Covidien Awards $750,000 Grant to Create New Materials Lab

October 4, 2007 — Scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine will use a $750,000 grant from Covidien, a global healthcare company, to make hernia surgeries safer and postoperative recoveries less burdensome.

The grant will help create a first-of-its-kind materials characterization laboratory where researchers will study materials physicians typically implant in patients during surgery to repair abdominal hernias.

More than 5 million Americans have hernias and every year more than 500,000 operations are performed across the country to repair the condition. During surgery, physicians implant a synthetic mesh to patch the hernia. Polypropolene mesh is used rather than other methods, such as sutures, because the material reduces some postoperative complications, such as infection, and recurrence rates.

Mesh technology is nearly 50 years old, and researchers with MU’s Biodesign and Innovation Program will work to study why the mesh sometimes changes after it is inside the body and how to avoid the side effects for patients. MU surgeons, engineers and other scientists will use the grant from Covidien to investigate the physical and chemical changes associated with biomedical and synthetic implants, such as the hernia mesh.

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