The Most Common Symptoms of Mesh Complications

The symptoms of mesh complications can range from minor pains and discomfort to life-threatening organ damage. And while the symptoms can be quite severe, what has researchers concerned is how often they occur. It’s rare for the FDA to express doubt about a treatment that was approved just a few years prior, but that is the case with this procedure. It was approved for use in most patients in 2007 and 2008, but in 2011, the FDA asked healthcare providers to look for alternatives instead, a significant turnaround in a short time. Unfortunately, many more women will likely be affected by these side effects in the near future as tens of thousands of women received the treatment in the few years it was considered safe.


These slings are typically used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Both are the result of a weakening of the muscles that form the pelvic floor, and they often occur following childbirth. The muscles can sag and shift slightly, allowing organs to move out of position. Both conditions can be frustrating to live with, though they may pale in comparison to the worst symptoms of mesh complications.

During treatment, the sling is positioned so that it forms a basket at the base of the abdomen, supporting organs and anchoring everything in place. However, these slings have a tendency to slide against other tissues in the body, causing steady erosion. This can lead to a number of secondary issues including excessive bleeding, infections, organ failure, severe pain, worsening of SUI or POP, or even sterility in rare instances. The symptoms of mesh complications are typically severe enough to require further medical treatment, including additional surgery to correct the problem. Corrective surgery carries additional risks, and major treatments like this can incapacitate a patient for an extended period of time.


In 2008, the treatment was considered safe by the FDA and most medical researchers. However, this view of safety didn’t last long. A study begun in 2007 published its results in 2010 in Obstetrics & Gynecology, and what they found was such a high rate of incidents that they had to cut the study short. Specifically, about 15 percent of studied patients experienced some side effects, an alarmingly high incidence rate.

In 2011, The Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Canada was more pointed with its conclusions. They stated that the procedure should only be used in experimental settings as it was too unknown and too unsafe to consider for mainstream use.

The mounting research appeared to sway the FDA in 2011 as well, which released a warning to healthcare providers and patients stating that alternative treatments should be used whenever possible. The FDA also reported in its safety update that more than 10,000 women had received the procedure in 2010 alone, so doctors were put on alert to look for issues with their patients in the coming years.

The side effects associated with the treatment can devastate a patient’s health and make it difficult for them to live a normal life. Victims, though, can fight back against careless healthcare providers and manufacturers and ensure those responsible are held accountable for their negligence.