Hips, knees, and hernia mesh: when does gender matter in surgery?

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper draws attention to gendered dimensions of surgical device failure, focusing on two case studies - hernia repair mesh for pelvic organ prolapse, and metal-on-metal hip implants. We explore possible reasons for higher rates of harms to women, including systematic biases in health research and device regulation. Given that these factors are readily identifiable, we look to feminist scholarship to understand what might maintain them, including the role of cultural factors within surgery, such as gendered communication patterns and sexism. We then canvas potential measures to mitigate the increased risk of harms faced by women who use implanted devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-174
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • ethics of surgical device regulation
  • gender bias in surgery
  • gender equity
  • gender in health research
  • surgical outcomes for women


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