Any woman who has experienced transvaginal mesh failure will describe it as painful. The implant procedure is used as a treatment for women who have suffered from pelvic organ prolapse, a condition where the internal support structure of the vagina collapses. Rather than stitching the damage back together, doctors will surgically implant a mesh device that will act as the needed provision to keep the organs, such as the cervix and rectum, in place. In 2010, thousands of women underwent the procedure only to suffer complications weeks and months later.
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common condition that develops in women who have endured hysterectomies, multiple births, or experiencing menopause. The ligaments that keep the organs in place stretch due to the strain and overtime eventually wear out and collapse. The practice of using mesh as a corrective procedure developed in the 1950’s, when doctors were using it in hernia surgeries. Doctors were eventually able to adapt the technique, by altering the size and shape of the material, to help women suffering from POP. Manufacturers then began developing different versions of the implant, all of which seemed to consist of a flexible plastic, best shaped to cradle the organs in place. The idea of this device was that the organs would attach to the material to create a permanent solution. Due to the way the implant is made, there have been several complications reported.
The most common injury associated with transvaginal mesh failure is erosion. Over 30 percent of patients who underwent the surgery reported this injury within a year of receiving the procedure. This occurs when the implant protrudes through the vaginal wall or surrounding tissues, resulting in pain, infection, and organ damage. Other problems reported include incontinence and repeated prolapse, both of which require another corrective surgery with its own set of risks, including blood transfusion, bruising, scarring and relapse. Severe complications of transvaginal mesh failure have resulted in hemorrhaging and death.
In 2008, a safety warning was released to alert the public about the frequency of the problem. From 2005 to 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received nearly 4,000 reports of transvaginal mesh failure, 3 of which resulted in fatalities. Studies have shown that traditional methods did not have the success rates of the implant methods in regards to POP symptoms. Many doctors have reported severe complications during and after the procedure with the mesh implant. The FDA urges doctors and patients to review alternative methods of action before resorting to this process. The FDA is currently meeting to discuss a potential ban on the product given the reports and recent lawsuits.
The first documented lawsuit involving transvaginal mesh failure injuries occurred in 2006. Given that over 75,000 women received this procedure in the last year, it is predicted that more suits will be filed in addition to those already on file. Patients may be able to seek restitution for injury, medical bills, lost wages and future surgeries. If the symptoms seem familiar after receiving a corrective procedure for POP or similar conditions, it may be a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss options for help.