The intention behind transvaginal mesh was to permanently fix pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that can occur after childbirth, menopause, or hysterectomy. When a woman’s pelvic muscles weaken, pelvic prolapse can occur; it is the weakness that causes the pelvic organs, bladder, rectum, and uterus, to drop into the vagina. In order to repair the prolapse, a hammock-like piece of synthetic mesh is then surgically implanted transvaginally or through the vagina to support the prolapsed organs. It was also a popular treatment for stress urinary incontinence.
You may be wondering what exactly is mesh?
The mesh used in surgical repairs is a synthetic material and permanent. Since introduced, mesh has been used extensively in surgeries. The mesh has been used extensively for hernia repairs. The mesh itself has many holes, which allow the body’s own tissues to grow into the mesh. The mesh provides the framework of support.
Almost 300 thousand women received transvaginal mesh implants in 2010, but in July of 2011 the FDA issued a public safety warning. Studies reviewed by the FDA revealed that within the first year of surgery, 10 percent of women who have undergone surgery requiring transvaginal mesh would experience severe complications.
Patients were assured that having the transvaginal mesh inserted was a low-risk procedure, however, the complications that could develop can be life changing. It was these complications that led hundreds of women to seek the help from a personal injury attorney.
Women who have had vaginal mesh implants have experienced a number of side effects, from minor to very serious.
The side effects include:
• Vaginal scarring
• Recurrence of incontinence or prolapse
• Vaginal mesh infection
• Urinary problems
• Erosion of the mesh implant through the vaginal walls
• Pain during sexual intercourse, or not being able to have sexual intercourse
The most dangerous problem associated with transvaginal mesh is also the most common, called transvaginal mesh erosion or mesh extrusion, which occurs when the rough edges of the mesh cut through the vaginal lining and nearby organs. This causes perforated organs, bleeding, infection, urinary problems, and pain during intercourse.
There is no way to undo the harm the mesh has caused. Multiple surgeries are required to remove pieces of the mesh, but the mesh may not be removed completely, and even after a number of surgeries to correct the problem, complications may continue.
Vaginal mesh is also used if you experience uterus prolapse. The uterus is held in place inside the pelvis with various ligaments, muscles, and tissues. As women get older, and with the natural loss of estrogen, experience difficult labor and delivery these muscles weaken, the uterus can collapse into the vaginal canal, a condition known as prolapsed uterus. Vaginal mesh is also used to repair prolapsed bladder, which again, can be caused by age and body stress such as childbirth. A prolapsed bladder may trigger such problems as discomfort, urinary difficulties and stress incontinence, which was repaired by the transvaginal mesh.
Consumer advocated and experts in both law and medicine are calling the faulty medical devised be both recalled and banned. To date, there have been very few FDA mesh recalls on transvaginal mesh products.
Besides the medical complications of transvaginal mesh side effects, there are also the emotional consequences. Pain and complications may prevent you from living your normal everyday life, altering your sex life, thus affecting your relationship. All of these factors can lead to serious emotional trauma, which will need to be addressed and also be compensated for. If you have experienced any of this, contact an injury lawyer to help decide what the best course of action would be in your case.