A bladder mesh is used to treat some cases of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapse (POP). It is designed to support organs that are in danger of shifting out of place. POP and SUI are fairly common conditions and generally affect older women or women who have had children. POP occurs when the muscles and connective tissues around the pelvic area can no longer provide the organs with the support they need. If left untreated, the condition can cause major issues with internal organs or serious discomfort. However, the synthetic sling that is often implanted to correct POP can cause its own set of problems, some of them debilitating or permanent. SUI is created by a weakening of the pelvic floor and involves regular incontinence that is sporadic and can have a significant impact on quality of life.
WHAT KINDS OF PROBLEMS CAN A BLADDER MESH CAUSE?
During the procedure, a polypropylene sling is placed around the pelvic floor to provide support to the pelvic muscles. The idea is to simulate the retention power of healthy pelvic muscles, but this can often cause a number of complications that may make SUI or POP worse. These complications include:
- Vaginal scarring
- Abdominal pain or pain during urination
- Worsening incontinence
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Erosion of internal tissues
- Organ perforation or erosion
Internal tissue and organ erosion and perforation are the most troublesome, as these side effects can result in permanent and severe conditions. Perforation of the bowel, the bladder and the vaginal wall are the most common, and all can cause severe internal bleeding and permanently mar the function of these organs. In a few cases, these slings can cause infertility or permanent incontinence.
WHAT RESEARCH IS THERE ON BLADDER MESH TECHNOLOGY?
In 2011, the FDA released a comprehensive report regarding the safety of the treatment. The report was put together after reviewing more than a 100 studies tracking its efficacy. The findings in their report were extremely negative for the treatment and confirmed that the sling was not a viable alternative to other surgical treatments for POP and SUI. The report also found that complications related to the treatment were not rare. In fact, nearly 10 percent of women receiving the sling experienced complications that were serious enough to warrant secondary surgeries or removal of the device. That is a staggering percentage and may be underreported. In addition to this unsettling number, seven women between 2008 and 2010 died as a result of complications from the surgery.
Any woman who has had this procedure and experienced any of these complications should consider speaking to Terry Bryant and his team of personal injury lawyers immediately. Many women have already filed lawsuits against sling manufacturers, and Bryant’s firm has overseen hundreds of medical device injury cases. Their expertise can help a victim get the compensation they need to address medical costs or recover from lost work or quality of life.