Following childbirth, hysterectomy, menopause, or due to other risk factors, women often face abdominal issues related to weakened muscles, including pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). A surgical mesh, usually manufactured from a type of plastic and implanted transvaginally (and less often through the abdomen) has been used in recent years to treat these conditions.
When designed and implanted correctly, many of these products improve the lives of women who suffer from organs like the uterus, bladder or rectum falling into the vaginal canal or urinary incontinence due to increased physical activity. However, manufacturers of some of these products have used materials or provided surgical directions which has led to serious and debilitating complications.
At HSH, lawyer Paul Miller has extensive experience in litigation and settlements involving these defective products which have harmed thousands of women. We can explain your options and help you obtain compensation for the damage and pain this product has inflicted on you.
Transvaginal mesh is a surgical net-like material, usually made from polypropylene plastic, that is used to strengthen vaginal wall tissue that is either stretched or too weak to support surrounding organs. The material, which had previously been used in hernia surgeries and to correct incontinence issues, began to be used in vaginal surgeries in the early 2000s instead of dissolvable sutures which tended to have a higher rate of failure. Unlike those temporary sutures, transvaginal mesh is a durable and much more permanent material.
Without long-term clinical trials and testing, problems with the material and the techniques used to implant it into vaginal tissue were not identified until women began experiencing distressing and damaging symptoms years later. Abdominal pain, infection, vaginal bleeding, mesh erosion (where the material transferred through the vaginal wall and even into other organs), and mesh contraction were reported by many women, prompting regulatory health agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration to reclassify the material as a “high-risk” and note that complications are “not rare.” Health Canada issued a notice to hospitals about these complications on February 4, 2010.
These complications are extremely serious and may be permanent. Revision surgery is sometime required, but not necessarily always completely successful or able to eliminate symptoms related to these complications.
While complications from transvaginal mesh implantation do not result in all women who have this procedure and vary from patient to patient, they have been known to include: acute or chronic pain, neuromuscular damage, pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), organ or blood vessel perforation, bleeding or hemorrhage, vaginal scarring or shrinkage due to scarring, recurrence of POP or SUI, mesh erosions, and emotional problems.
The most serious of these complications can require revision surgery to remove the mesh. However, the durability of the mesh and the manner in which it fuses to vaginal tissue can make these surgeries numerous, complicated and ultimately sometimes unsuccessful.
Transvaginal mesh was originally conceived to help women facing problems relating to weakened vaginal tissue. Although many women have reported no issue relating to this treatment, others have found their lives altered and are experiencing tremendous suffering as a result of manufacturers who introduced a product into the market without completing the necessary and adequate long-term testing.
The vast number of women facing complications from transvaginal mesh has prompted numerous support groups to launch to provide emotional support and resources for victims; however, legal action can also be an option. If you have experienced problems relating to a transvaginal mesh procedure, HSH product liability lawyers have the expertise and experience to help you obtain compensation for damage caused by the negligence of others.