Transvaginal Mesh Failure

When patients receive any form of treatment, they expect that the worst side effects are extremely rare, but this is not the case with transvaginal mesh failure complications. In fact, the FDA has said as much, stating that these complications “are not rare.” That is a serious concern for women undergoing surgery for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or incontinence, and for many, their lives are changed forever following the procedure, and not for the better.

HOW DOES TRANSVAGINAL MESH FAILURE OCCUR?

For years, these devices have been used in women who need additional organ support in their pelvic region. They act like hammocks, propping up organs and keeping them from shifting around. However, they don’t always behave like they are advertised to, and can even migrate in the body. And that’s not even the worst complication linked to the procedure.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF TRANSVAGINAL MESH FAILURE?

There are two major risks with the device – erosion and perforation. Over time, the material can become unanchored in the body and begin rubbing up against soft tissue. Before long, the material will begin sloughing off tissue and cause immediate problems. Erosion can make a victim feel like there is broken glass in their pelvis, causing sharp bursts of pain every time they move or are moved. Erosion can also result in serious infections and usually makes sexual intercourse impossible due to pain. Some victims have stated that the pain is severe enough to make normal life impossible, forcing them to leave their jobs and miss a lot of time with their families in order to avoid the pain.

Unfortunately, erosion is the most common complication of transvaginal mesh failure, according to the FDA. There is some debate over just how common erosion is, but it’s believed to occur in at least four percent of patients. A patient review performed by Cochran and involving nearly 4,000 participants found a 10 percent prevalence rate, which is frighteningly high.

The other major complication is organ perforation. Perforation occurs when the material completely breaches through a hollow organ, and can happen when the material is implanted, or if it erodes through the organ over time. The most common affected organs are the bladder, urethra, intestine or rectum, and in all instances, the effects can be deadly. Organ perforation can result in breathing difficulty and serious infections. These infections can be extremely deadly if urine or waste seeps into the blood, a condition known as sepsis.

Perhaps the most concerning thing about transvaginal mesh failure, though, is that it is sometimes impossible to treat effectively. If the material becomes entangled in soft tissues, it may take several surgeries to remove it, and even then, there may be some parts of the material left.

Given the prevalence of erosion and perforation complications, some doctors have called the treatment experimental and not fit for general patient use. Many suits filed against implant manufacturers have made the same claim, and manufacturers will likely face large judgments in the near future.