As reports of injuries relating to vaginal mesh continue to mount, we are learning more details about the types of injuries this product is causing, and the lessons are alarming.
VAGINAL MESH BACKGROUND
Surgical Mesh is commonly used in pelvic floor surgery to treat both incontinence and prolapse. “Vaginal mesh kits” were introduced approximately seven years ago in an attempt to simplify and standardize the technique of vaginal mesh placement. Recently, however, the safety of these mesh kits has been called into question.
Once the mesh is implanted it can move around the body, its frayed edges cutting through tissue and sometimes puncturing nearby organs. Some women have become septic, suffering infections so bad that the entire torso turns a deep purple. These infections attack a body from the inside, and if not treated promptly can lead to death. At least 10 women have reportedly died as a result of a punctured bowel and resultant septic infection.
Other more common injuries being reported due to vaginal mesh exposures are:
- Prolapse recurrence
- Erosion into vagina
- Dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse)
- Internal bleeding
- Vaginal scarring
- Vaginal wall-narrowing
- Urinary problems
- Punctured bladder
- Punctured uterus
- Chronic postoperative pain
These injuries are caused by frayed edges of the mesh material and by movement of the patch within the body.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO AVOID OR MINIMIZE THE INJURY?
First and foremost, alert your physician if you suffer any complications or symptoms that you think could be related to the placement of the mesh implant. We suggest you follow the advice of a qualified physician.
Failed mesh implants commonly require removal of the mesh. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done. To remove the mesh, doctors must perform multiple surgeries as the mesh has to be taken out in pieces. Occasionally, it is impossible to remove all of the mesh because the mesh is impossible to separate from body tissue. In these cases, some or all of the mesh remains implanted for life.
It is not our intent to sound an unnecessary alarm. Pelvic floor prolapse is a significant quality-of-life issue for many women. Some women have a good experience after their vaginal mesh placement surgery, without experiencing any of the above-listed complications or symptoms. However, the number of women with bad results appears to be significantly higher than what was originally disclosed by the manufacturers of these medical products. Accordingly, women with these products in their body should be aware of symptoms indicating movement of the patch so that they can know when to seek medical care.