What is a Pelvic Mesh Implant?
A pelvic mesh implant (also known as transvaginal mesh) is a plastic, net-like medical device formerly used to treat stress urinary incontinence, a condition in which women leak from their bladder when performing impact activities like jogging and jumping or when sneezing or coughing. The best way most women understand the issues is by viewing pelvic mesh implant pictures. The condition affects women after childbirth or during menopause.
A transvaginal mesh is also occasionally recommended for women to treat pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when a pelvic organ, such as the bladder, rectum, or uterus, “sags” and slides out of position, affecting up to half of all women who have had children.
This might occur when the pelvic organs floor muscles, ligaments, and tissue that support the organs in place become weak or injured. The transvaginal mesh treats pelvic organ prolapse and supports weak muscles.
The pelvic mesh is surgically implanted through the vagina and supports weaker tissues. Transvaginal mesh implants are also known as slings, tape, ribbons, and hammocks.
How does the Pelvic Mesh Work?
The vaginal mesh implant is a net-like implant. It comes in a multitude of shapes, including a “sling,” “tape,” “ribbon,” “mesh,” and “hammock.” There are several brands and manufacturers to choose from.
The transvaginal mesh surgery purpose is to provide permanent support to the weakened vaginal wall, treat pelvic floor disorders, and restore weakened or damaged tissue.
Surgery can be performed either via the abdomen (transabdominal) or through the vagina (vaginal) (transvaginal). Sutures or tissue fixation medical devices hold the surgical mesh in place after a tiny incision is made in the vaginal or abdominal wall. The concept is that tissue will grow into the mesh pores to form a support wall.
Types of Surgical Meshes
Surgical mesh can be created from synthetic or animal-derived materials.
Surgical mesh constructed of synthetic materials is available in knitted and non-knitted sheets. The synthetic materials utilized can be absorbable, non-absorbable, or a mix of both absorbable and non-absorbable.
Non-absorbable materials will stay in the body indefinitely. This mesh offers permanent reinforcement in strength to the pelvic organ prolapse repair.
Over time, absorbable materials deteriorate and lose strength. These meshes are not meant to give long-term reinforcement to the repair site. New tissue development is intended to offer stability to the repair as the material declines.
Animal-derived mesh is formed of animal tissue, such as the intestine or skin, which has been treated and sterilized to be used as an implantable device. Most of the tissue used to make these mesh implants comes from pigs (porcine) or cows (bovine). These meshes made from animals are biodegradable.
What are the Symptoms (Side Effects) of Pelvic Mesh Implants?
The most common symptom many women complain about after having the pelvic mesh implant is usually chronic pain. This pain causes women to have sitting, walking, and even standing issues. Other symptoms you may experience include:
· Pelvic pain or swelling
· Unusual bleeding or discharge
· Painful sex
· Chronic infections
· Pain in the vagina
· New bladder or bowel symptoms
What are the complications after pelvic mesh surgery that led to lawsuits?
Thousands of pelvic mesh lawsuits were brought after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned about significant issues related to it in 2008.
The FDA published a public health advisory about them in October 2008 and then issued a safety warning in July 2011, stating that conditions had changed and that significant consequences were now regarded as “not uncommon.”
As the difficulties persisted, the FDA categorized pelvic meshes in 2016 to need permission before selling them. As a result, all manufacturers stopped marketing vaginal surgical meshes.
The FDA then said on April 16, 2019, that it had ordered the two producers of the three pelvic meshes available in the United States to “immediately stop marketing and distributing their devices.” Meanwhile, hundreds of cases were brought around the country for women who had pelvic mesh surgically placed and had health complications.
These are the transvaginal mesh complications mentioned in mesh lawsuits:
· Bladder infection
· Mesh contraction
· Erosion or extrusion
· Organ perforation
· Mesh hardening
· Nerve damage
· Painful sexual intercourse
· Pelvic pain
· Post-surgical infection
· Recurring stress urinary incontinence
· Recurring pelvic organ prolapse
· Revision surgery
· Urinary blockage
· Urinary tract infection
· Vaginal pain
Current status of the Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits
Vaginal mesh implants litigation involving C.R. Bard, Inc., American Medical Systems, Inc., Boston Scientific Corp., Ethicon, Inc., Coloplast Corp., Cook Medical, Inc., and Neomedic were consolidated into seven MDLs. The coordinated effort grew to include over 100,000 instances, making it one of the greatest mass tort lawsuits in U.S. history.
The MDLs were assigned to U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia’s Charleston courtroom by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. As of July 2022, almost 95% of the claims have been settled or dropped, with the firms paying $525 million.
After holding C.R. Bard responsible for design and failure-to-warn faults under North Carolina products liability law, a New Jersey jury awarded a lady and her husband $33 million in compensatory damages and agreed medical expenses, as well as $35 million in punitive damages, in 2016. The trial judge overturned the verdict in 2021 due to a mistake in evidence. There are also cases filed in state courts.
The lawsuit, like with many others, is still being contested in jurisdictions other than the West Virginia federal court that handled the MDLs. Other state claims have been settled, including false marketing actions brought by state attorneys general.
What should you do if you are experiencing symptoms after the mesh surgery?
The essential thing to do is get medical assistance as soon as possible so that any problems with the mesh devices may be discovered and handled. This may need multiple surgeries to trim or have the mesh removed.
Next is to contact your lawyer to help you file a claim. Even if you had the transvaginal mesh implants installed years ago and just recently started experiencing serious complications, you could still go to your lawyer to help you file a claim; check out transvaginal mesh attorney Tom Plouff.
Remember that each state has its statute of limitations (the time window in which you can file your case). You can no longer file once that window has been closed. Because some jurisdictions only allow one year to file a case, you need to move quickly. An attorney can assist you in maintaining your claim and filing a vaginal mesh lawsuit.