Transvaginal mesh is a medical device used in surgery to treat women who suffer from conditions like pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a common result of childbirth, hysterectomy or menopause. It occurs when the tissues that hold the pelvic organs in place are weakened or stretched. The pelvic organs in a woman include the bladder, the uterus, the rectum, the bowel, the urethra and the top of the vagina. When support weakens, these organs scan bulge into the vagina – sometimes even past the vaginal opening.
Pelvic Mesh as a Solution
To support these pelvic organs, a hammock-like piece of synthetic mesh is implanted through an incision in the wall of the vagina. Since 1996, this material has been implanted in millions of women. A similar mesh has been used for decades to treat hernias with no significant problems.
Ninety percent of the time, transvaginal mesh works exactly as intended. Ten percent of the time, however, there are complications. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), no conclusive evidence shows that transvaginal mesh is any more effective than other methods of repair. At the same time, the FDA states that there is no need to remove mesh in the absence of problems.
Pelvic Mesh as a Problem
The most common problem associated with vaginal mesh implants is mesh extrusion, which occurs when the rough edges of the synthetic mesh cut through the lining of the vagina or nearby organs. This can cause organ perforation, infection, bleeding, pain during intercourse and urinary problems.
Women who experience any of these problems following placement of pelvic mesh should consult immediately with a doctor who is experienced in the insertion, removal and revision of these procedures. In some cases, even multiple surgeries do not resolve complications. Then, they should consult with a lawyer.
The FDA issued its first public health notification warning about rare but serious complications related to the placement of pelvic mesh in 2008. In 2011, the FDA updated this notification, stating that the number of complications was not rare, but high. In early 2012, at the advice of an advisory board, the FDA directed 33 manufacturers to conduct three-year studies of the product.
Women who experience serious complications may be eligible for compensation for their injuries.
Three multidistrict lawsuits were filed against five major manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices - American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon and Coloplast. In 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel consolidated these three cases, which all contain similar sets of facts and injuries, into one. This case will be heard in the U.S. District Court of West Virginia.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding complications resulting from the use of implant mesh is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an attorney who focuses on defective medical devices.