Vaginal mesh is commonly used for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition where an organ drops from its normal place in the lower belly and pushes against the walls of the vagina. Another common use for the mesh includes treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The mesh is used to increase support to these areas and reverse these conditions. However, many experts are now finding that the potential dangers of the mesh outweigh the benefits because of the damage the material causes to many patients every year.
Federal warnings against use
In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration issued a public health notification alerting the general public and healthcare workers that serious complications have occurred for those using vaginal mesh in the treatment of POP and SUI. From 2005 to 2008, the FDA received more than 1,000 reports from nine separate manufacturers stating that complications occurred in connection with the mesh. These complications most often included the following conditions:
- Erosion through vaginal tissue
- Urinary issues
- Recurrence of POP or SUI
In less common reports, patients complained of perforation of the bowels, bladder or blood vessels during insertion. Additionally, some patients complained of vaginal scarring and mesh erosion that causes severe pain.
FDA Adverse Event Reports
In order to determine whether vaginal mesh use was safe or if it caused undue injury to patients, the FDA conducted a search for all adverse events associated with surgical mesh use. The search spanned records from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010 and identified thousands of injuries, deaths and malfunctions. The search found that 1,503 reports were associated with POP repairs and another 1,371 were associated with SUI repairs.
Awards and settlements
A jury recently decided that the makers of a certain brand of transvaginal mesh should have to pay for the damages a woman sustained after having the mesh implanted. According to NJ.com, the woman experienced pain, bladder spasms and bleeding before having the mesh removed. The jury awarded her $250,000 in compensation for her damages as well as $1.75 million in punitive damages.
According to Bloomberg.com, the same makers of the mesh also settled with another victim who also used the implant. The woman allegedly suffered such severe complications following implantation of the mesh that she required six additional surgeries to correct the damage. The company settled the case for an undisclosed amount.
The same vaginal mesh company is currently facing more than 8,000 claims over their implant, which many claim causes organ damage and can make sexual intercourse painful if erosion of the device occurs. Those who have experienced any of these symptoms following a vaginal mesh implant surgery are urged to contact a medical malpractice attorney immediately to discuss their claim and potential compensation.