During the past decade, medicine has witnessed a revolutionary change in prosthetic biomaterials for application in hernia repair. Composite mesh with absorbable and non-absorbable barriers for intraperitioneal placement, lightweight macroporous mesh and xenogeneic and allogeneic biological meshes are several of these novel materials. The focus of the laboratory of Section Chief Brent Matthews, M.D., has been the assessment of the biocompatibility of these biomaterials with a particular interest in the bioreactivity of mesh placed intra-abdominally during laparoscopic repairs. The development of unique materials for application in abdominal and diaphragmatic hernia repair is also an area of interest. Tissue engineering has the potential to facilitate the radical cure of hernias, and its application in tissue healing and fascial replacement is in its infancy. This will also be a focus of the research program. Genetics may ultimately play the most significant role in the etiology of hernia formation and recurrence. In collaboration with the Washington University Proteomics Core at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, we will study the genetics of hernia formation and develop prognostic modalities to determine patients at risk.
Dr. Michael Brunt is involved in clinical outcome studies in the field of minimally invasive surgery and surgical education research. The clinical areas of principal interest are in laparoscopic solid organ surgery and hernia surgery, especially repair of complex hiatal hernias including paraesophageal hernias and sports hernias. Surgical education research areas of interest include skills preparation of senior medical students for surgical internship, development of a masters suturing program for surgical interns, and laparoscopic skills development for single site access laparoscopy.
Christopher Eagon, M.D., is involved in outcomes research in gastrointestinal surgery and is the director of the program in bariatric surgery.