Surgical Mesh Complications

by Steve Fields on October 7th, 2011

Many women have filed transvaginal mesh lawsuit claims after experiencing surgical mesh complications that developed when the device failed. Vaginal mesh (i.e. pelvic mesh, bladder sling, etc.) is implanted to treat a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP). One or more organs in a woman’s pelvic region may drop from their normal positions, and then herniate into the vagina. Surgical mesh is designed to support the organs, essentially holding them in place.

Pelvic organ prolapse can refer to situations in which one organ falls, or several. It is a general term. When a single organ, such as the bladder, drops from its normal position, the condition is often called a different name The name reflects the organ. We’ll describe the most common forms of POP below. We’ll also detail some of the vaginal mesh complications that have spurred hundreds of pelvic mesh lawsuit claims against the devices’ manufacturers.

Bladder Prolapse (Cystocele)

This is the most common form of POP. It involves only the bladder and vagina. The supporting tissues between the two organs weaken and stretch to the point that the bladder drops and bulges into the anterior vaginal wall. A cystocele is often caused by straining the muscles in the pelvic region, as might happen during vaginal childbirth. Women coping with persistent constipation may also develop bladder prolapse.

Common side effects include a sporadic loss of urinary control and recurring infections of the bladder. Pain during sexual intercourse may also present.

Rectal Prolapse (Rectocele)

This type of pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the layer of fibrous tissue between the rectum and vagina weakens. This allows the lower portion of the rectum to fall so that it bulges into the posterior vaginal wall. Like a cystocele, a rectocele may be caused by pushing during natural childbirth and chronic constipation. Repeatedly lifting heavy objects can also pose sufficient pressure to cause prolapse.

Women suffering from rectal prolapse typically experience difficulty in completing bowel movements.

Uterine Prolapse

This form of POP occurs when the supportive tissues and muscles holding the uterus become weakened and stretched. Depending on the extent to which both are compromised, the entire organ may drop, herniating into the vaginal canal. Uterine prolapse can develop as the result of multiple vaginal childbirths, or having a very large baby during an exceptionally difficult delivery.

Difficulty during defecation, lower back pain, and urinary leakage are among the most common symptoms. In severe cases, vaginal sores and infection may present.

Vaginal Prolapse (Enterocele)

This is often referred to as vaginal vault prolapse. The tissues and muscles holding the small bowel in place weaken so that the lower portion of the intestines drops, and bulges against the upper vaginal wall. Childbirth, pelvic surgery, and repeated heavy lifting can cause an enterocele. Women who have had a hysterectomy are also at risk.

Common side effects of vaginal prolapse include lower back pain and pain during sexual intercourse.

Problems Associated With Surgical Mesh For POP Repair

Several non-mesh treatments are available for POP, depending on the type of prolapse and the extent of organ herniation. These include medications, exercise, physical therapy, and surgical intervention. Transvaginal placement of pelvic mesh for POP repair was designed to offer a minimally-invasive approach to surgery.

Over the last several years, hundreds of cases have surfaced in which women who had received the bladder sling experienced serious surgical mesh complications. The FDA reported that the most common problem is mesh erosion; the device erodes into the vaginal wall. Many women have also reported bleeding, vaginal infections, pain during sexual intercourse, lower back pain, and persistent vaginal leakage. In some, organ prolapse recurred when the device failed.

These side effects often require surgery to correct. However, according to the FDA, some cases of mesh erosion cannot be repaired, even after multiple surgeries.

Surgical mesh is manufactured by several companies, including Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. If you underwent transvaginal placement of pelvic mesh, and have suffered vaginal bleeding, drainage, pain, and other complications, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Contact a transvaginal mesh failure lawyer to discuss your case.

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