What is a Mesh Implant?
What Is a Mesh Implant?
A transvaginal mesh implant is a synthetic device that is placed in the vagina to reinforce a weakened vaginal wall, to repair pelvic organ prolapse, or to support the urethra in cases of urinary incontinence. Mesh implants are also used to treat vaginal vault prolapse, a condition where the vagina loses its shape and drops into the vaginal canal.
It’s estimated that about 50 percent of women will experience some form of pelvic organ prolapse, a condition where a pelvic organ, such as the bladder, rectum or uterus, pushes against the vaginal wall, in their lifetime. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs in varying degrees, with about two percent of women experiencing noticeable symptoms.
In some cases, women may experience discomfort and pain, but in other cases, it can get much worse. The bladder, rectum or uterus may actually push through the vaginal wall and surgery is required to repair the tissue that supports the pelvic organs.
In the 90s, physicians started using the transvaginal mesh implant to provide additional support for organs that had prolapsed into the vaginal canal and to support the bladder in cases of urinary incontinence. Both conditions are common among older women who have either undergone a hysterectomy or have entered menopause. Prior to its use for pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence, mesh had been used to treat hernias.
Mesh Implant Complications Are Causing Women to File Lawsuits
Vaginal mesh complications started to escalate in 2008, when more than 1,000 adverse reports were made to the FDA by women all across the U.S. That year, the FDA issued a Public Health Notification and Additional Patient Information, but stated the complications were rare and an area of “continuing concern.”
As mesh complications continued, the FDA revised its statement in 2011 by issuing an update to health care providers, including specialists in gynecology, urogynecology, urology, general surgery, internal medicine, family practice, emergency medicine, as well as patients, stating that mesh complications were not rare.
Additionally, the FDA acknowledged that mesh implant surgery may not be more effective than non-mesh treatment of pelvic organ prolapse, and that mesh may increase patient risk of health complications.
The most frequently cited mesh complication is erosion, which can cause severe pelvic pain, infection and bleeding. Mesh can also shrink or contract inside the patient, causing vaginal tightening and pain.
Other mesh complications include:
- Recurrent prolapse
- Vaginal scarring
- Painful intercourse
- Urinary incontinence
- Neuromuscular problems
- Emotional trauma
In 2010, 75,000 women have had mesh surgery to treat pelvic organ prolapse, and more than 200,000 had mesh surgery to treat urinary problems. Despite its wide use among physicians, it is estimated that 60 percent of mesh surgeries results in complications that require hospitalization and multiple surgeries to correct.
A recent article by the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology contends that women who have had mesh surgery would have been better off without it.
Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits
Mesh implants were never officially recalled or removed from the marketplace, despite numerous reports of complications. However, in 2012, the FDA ordered 44 manufacturers of mesh implants to conduct additional research on problems such as mesh disintegration, erosion and infection.
The absence of an FDA recall doesn’t mean that women cannot file a mesh lawsuit. In fact, thousands of women across the U.S. have filed mesh lawsuits against implant manufacturers and physicians, for design flaws, improper representation of the product and failure to adequately notify patients of serious side effects and health complications.
Transvaginal mesh lawsuits currently underway involve the following manufacturers and their respective mesh implant devices:
- Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon, Inc.), the makers of Gynecare and Gynemesh
- C.R. Bard, Inc., the makers of Avaulta and Pelvicol
- Boston Scientific Corp., the makers of Advantage Sling, Obtryx, Perfyx and Pinnacle
- American Medical Systems, Inc., the makers of Spar, Miniarc, Monarc, Apogee, Perigee and Elevate
- Coloplast Corp., the makers of MPathy, Mentor-Aris, Supris, Suspend, T-Sling, Novasilk, Exair and Restorelle
In some mesh lawsuits that have concluded, plaintiffs have been awarded millions of dollars in financial damages, from California to South Dakota to New Jersey.
Due to the large number of mesh lawsuits being filed, some cases have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in order to expedite the pre-trial process. This means that similar cases filed in different locations are being consolidated under one judge’s jurisdiction during pre-trial; each suit is still being treated as an individual case.
What to Expect From a Mesh Lawsuit
Although every case is different, most mesh manufacturers will attempt to settle a case out of court. A settlement offer may include financial compensation for medical costs, expenses that are not covered by insurance, and lost wages due to time off work. It’s important that you keep records of all doctor’s visits, all procedures performed, as well as all expenses. This information will be critical in determining how much compensation you are entitled to receive.
In some cases, financial compensation for pain and suffering may also be awarded, particularly if your injuries make it difficult to perform simple daily activities. Your lawyer will play a critical role in the negotiations — and in the trial, if a settlement can’t be reached.
If you or a family member is having health problems because of a vaginal mesh implant, there is no need to suffer in silence. The attorneys at 1-800-THE-LAW2 have experience handling vaginal mesh cases and could help you get significant financial compensation for your injuries.