Spectroscopic analysis of metal contents in mosquito nets used in hernia repair surgery

  • Hannah L. Peterson
  • Elizabeth L. Peterson
  • Rachael A. Bouwman
  • Kumar Sinniah
  • Bruce C. Steffes
  • Jason Fader
Keywords: hernia repair, surgical mesh, mosquito net, metal content, tearing force


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to quantitatively evaluate the heavy metal contents in several types of mosquito nets used in hernia repair surgery and to determine whether autoclave sterilization weakens the mosquito net material.  

Methods: The metal contents of a commercial polypropylene surgical mesh and polyester, low density polypropylene, and polyethylene mosquito nets were extracted via a wet digestion procedure. The extractions were analyzed by Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy. The breaking strength of mosquito nets was measured using a tensile tester.

Results:  The polypropylene mosquito net metal contents were comparable to or less than the metal content in commercial surgical meshes and textile fibers.1 The polyester and polyethylene mosquito net metal contents were higher, yet below toxic thresholds. The structural integrity of the nets was not compromised by autoclave sterilization.

Conclusion: The metal contents found in mosquito nets are below toxic thresholds and are comparable to a commercially available surgical mesh.  The variability in metal contents found among the mosquito nets is likely due to the manufacturing process. However, there is no evidence that their metal contents are grounds for disqualification as an alternative to commercial surgical mesh.

Original Research