To determine the acceptability of porcine and bovine surgical implants among persons of Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu faiths whose beliefs prohibit them from consuming porcine and bovine products.

An evaluation of current literature concerning religious beliefs among persons of Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu faiths was undertaken to determine if animal-derived surgical implants are permitted for use in these religions.

Because of the limited published literature about this topic, the opinions of religious leaders in Australia were sought.

Religious and cultural beliefs can conflict with and limit treatment options, especially in surgery. Approximately 81 porcine and bovine surgical implants are regularly used in Australia.

It is deemed acceptable for members of the Jewish faith to undergo surgery using porcine products. In dire situations and only after all other options have been exhausted, followers of the Muslim faith are permitted to use porcine surgical products. Hindu religious leaders did not accept the use of bovine surgical implants.

Australia comprises a multicultural society; therefore, it is necessary to consider religious beliefs of all patients. As part of a surgeon's duty of care, the informed consent process should include a discussion about animal-derived surgical implants to avoid religious distress and possible litigation. A greater understanding of religious views would enhance the medical care of persons of Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu faiths.