What Is A Pelvic Mesh?
Pelvic mesh, also known as a vaginal mesh, it is a woven synthetic netting usually made from Polypropylene. Pelvic mesh is implanted into the pelvis for a variety of conditions, usually for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.
How Does It Work?
The mesh comes in a number of forms including a “sling”, “tape”, “ribbon”, “mesh” and “hammock”. There are different brands and manufacturers. The aim of the mesh is to give permanent support to the weakened organs and to repair damaged tissue.
What Can Go Wrong?
Complications can be very serious and damaging, they include mesh exposure and erosion – when the mesh pokes through the vaginal wall or cuts through internal tissue – vaginal scarring, fistula formation, painful sex, and pelvic, back and leg pains. Unfortunately, some of these complications may occur years after surgery and can be difficult to treat.
Problems that have arisen due to complications but are not limited to:
- Chronic pain, especially in the abdomen and pelvic areas
- Difficulty/inability to walk
- Bladder infection
- Mesh erosion or protrusion.
- Vaginal erosion or scarring
- Bladder perforation
- Bowel and nerve trauma
What Is The Current Controversy Surrounding Vaginal Mesh?
Unfortunately, there has been a growing body of evidence that efficacy is lower and complication rates are higher for pelvic organ prolapse. In the UK, NHS data suggests that one in 15 women later has had to have their implant surgically removed. In a survey of 2,220 women who had undergone pelvic mesh implants to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, 59% said the procedure did not resolve their original issue, and 58% said they were left experiencing pain during intercourse.
Class Action Against Johnson & Johnson
You may have heard of the class action that was brought against Johnson & Johnson in Australia on behalf of 700 women who had pelvic mesh and tape products implanted to treat common complications of childbirth.
Women have been left in severe, debilitating and chronic pain, and often unable to have intercourse. The vast majority also suffered a significant psychological toll. The mesh eroded internally in many cases, caused infections, multiple complications, and became nearly impossible to completely remove.
It became evident that the devices were not properly tested for safety before being allowed on to the market, though Johnson & Johnson and the associated companies were aware of the potential for serious complications. Fortunately, the women won the landmark class action against Johnson & Johnson.
What Are My Next Steps?
At P.A. Duffy and Company our expert Medical Negligence solicitors can advise on the most appropriate approach to take if you suspect you have been a victim of a defective medical product. Our medical negligence department is vastly experienced in such matters and we have your best interest at heart. We appreciate that this can be an overwhelming and stressful time for you and your family. It is a process that can take a long time, but our expertise and sensitivity allow us to advise you through every step of the process ensuring you are fully aware of what is happening whilst providing you with professional advice.