Surgical mesh, sometimes called a bladder sling, has been used medically for decades. Please contact us for the latest bladder sling lawsuit 2012 news if you have suffered from complications. It was commonly implanted sixty years ago to treat hernias, and was later used to correct stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. By the mid-1990s, surgeons began to implant the device during surgical repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). It was typically installed through abdominal incisions. The early 2000s saw the introduction of pelvic mesh kits designed to be installed through incisions made into the vaginal wall. Since then, there have been thousands of reports of serious vaginal mesh complications.
Among the many bladder sling problems reported by women are vaginal pain, bleeding, swelling, and recurring infections. There have also been reports of urinary and bowel dysfunction. The FDA reported in July 2011 that the most commonly-reported vaginal mesh failure was a circumstance called erosion. The device migrates through the vaginal tissue, and often protrudes into the vaginal canal. Hundreds of surgical mesh lawsuit claims have been filed since the FDA’s announcement.
One of the controversies surrounding transvaginal placement of mesh for POP repair focuses on whether the procedure’s benefits outweigh its risks. We’ll address this issue below by describing the various treatments available for pelvic organ prolapse.
Non-Mesh Treatment For Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition defined by organs in the pelvis dropping from their rightful positions. This occurs due to weakening in the muscles of the pelvic floor. One or more organs fall, bulging against the anterior (front) or posterior (back) walls of the vagina, or into the top of the vaginal canal.
The type of non-mesh treatments available are based, in part, by the type of prolapse demonstrated by the patient. For example, the most common form of POP is a cystocele (prolapse of the bladder). In mild cases, therapy may be limited to an avoidance of heavy lifting. Moderate cystoceles are often treated with the temporary implantation of a pessary, a small device that supports the bladder. Surgery may be performed for a severe cystocele. The doctor will tighten the pelvic floor muscles, and place stitches in the anterior vaginal wall for additional support.
Similar treatment options are available for repairing uterine prolapse (sometimes called a descensus). Many doctors also recommend performing Kegel exercises to help strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. On occasion, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be performed.
Each of these measures, whether they are implemented individually or in combination, can be effective for repairing pelvic organ prolapse. Importantly, none present the complications associated with transvaginal mesh placement.
Vaginal Placement Of Surgical Mesh For POP Repair
As previously noted, mesh devices were normally implanted via an abdominal approach until the early 2000s. Today, most women opt for transvaginal placement since it poses less invasive surgery and a shorter recovery period. Of the 100,000 women who underwent mesh treatment for POP in 2010, three out of four chose a vaginal approach.
The procedure is similar to that performed for non-mesh POP treatment. The surgeon makes incisions into the vaginal wall to correct the position of the prolapsed organ. The difference is that rather than merely placing stitches into the vaginal tissue, pelvic mesh is installed to provide additional support. The device is designed to encourage the body’s tissue to grow into it. The tissue holds it in place.
Transvaginal Mesh Complications Outweigh Benefits
During the first several years that surgical mesh was installed vaginally, there was hope that the procedure would prove to be more effective than non-mesh treatments. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The FDA reported in 2011 that a review of scientific literature dating from 1996 through 2011 showed that installing the device vaginally offered no improvements over traditional POP repair. Moreover, the approach introduced serious risks, many of which were described earlier.
Based on the reviewed literature, the FDA advised doctors to strongly consider non-mesh treatments when discussing POP repair options with their patients. The tendency for these medical devices to cause severe pain, infection, and other serious problems was particularly noteworthy given the lack of postoperative benefits.
If you received a pelvic mesh implant and have experienced erosion, vaginal pain, or other complications, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Contact a bladder sling lawsuit lawyer to discuss your legal options.
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