Transvaginal mesh surgery is a procedure used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. However, numerous reports of serious complications associated with transvaginal mesh surgery have led to significant concerns and legal actions. If you are experiencing persistent pelvic pain after mesh implantation, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider.
Chronic pelvic pain is one of the most common complications reported by patients who have undergone transvaginal mesh surgery for pelvic organ prolapse.
If you are experiencing pain or other mesh complications following transvaginal mesh surgery, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly. Treatment options may include mesh removal surgery, pain management, and addressing related health issues. Additionally, consult with your healthcare provider about the potential risks and benefits of any surgical procedure for pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence to make an informed decision about your treatment options.
Due to the complications and serious adverse events associated with vaginal mesh, its use has been heavily scrutinized, and various countries have taken regulatory actions. Some regulatory agencies have restricted or banned certain transvaginal mesh kits for POP and SUI. Furthermore, many lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of synthetic mesh products, resulting in substantial settlements.
What are the complications associated with vaginal mesh surgery?
Here are some complications and issues associated with surgical mesh surgery:
- Pelvic Pain: Chronic or acute pain is a frequent complaint after surgical mesh surgery. The pain can be localized in the pelvic region or radiate to the lower back or thighs.
- Vaginal Mesh Erosion/ Mesh exposure: The mesh can erode through the vaginal wall, causing pain, infection, bleeding, and discomfort.
- Infection: Infections, often caused by the mesh becoming a site for bacterial growth, can result in pain, fever, discharge, and recurrent urinary tract infections.
- Pain During Intercourse (Dyspareunia): Mesh can cause pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse, making intimacy difficult or impossible.
- Organ Perforation: The mesh can puncture or perforate nearby organs, such as the bladder, bowel, or blood vessels, leading to severe complications like bladder and bowel disorders and necessitating further surgeries.
- Vaginal Mesh Contraction or Shrinkage: The mesh may contract or shrink over time, causing tightening and pain in the pelvic area.
- Urinary Problems: Pelvic organ prolapse surgery can lead to urinary issues such as urinary urgency, frequency, hesitancy, or difficulty emptying the bladder.
- Recurrence of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP): Despite the surgery, POP can recur due to mesh failure or other factors, necessitating further treatment for pelvic organ prolapse symptoms.
- Neuropathic Pain: Some individuals experience neuropathic pain due to nerve damage during the surgery, causing chronic pain and discomfort.
- Emotional and Psychological Impact: Dealing with complications can cause mental health issues in patients, leading to anxiety, depression, and decreased quality of life.
How is surgical mesh used to treat pelvic floor disorders?
Surgical pelvic mesh may be used to help fix pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urine incontinence (SUI) in women. When a person has pelvic organ prolapse, the organs in the pelvis may move down and stick out of the vagina. This happens when the muscles and tissue on the floor of the pelvis aren’t strong enough to hold the organs in place.
Surgical mesh implant surgery supports and lifts the prolapsed organs back into their normal positions. The mesh acts as a scaffold, reinforcing the weakened tissue and helping to hold the organs in place.
Stress urinary incontinence can cause urine to leak when you do things that put more pressure on your belly. Some of these things are coughing, laughing, sneezing, and working out. In certain cases, surgical mesh supports the urethra and bladder neck, helping to reduce urinary leakage by providing additional support to the weakened pelvic floor muscles.
What are the safety concerns about the use of surgical mesh?
Consider non-surgical approaches such as pelvic floor physical therapy and suture-based procedures like anterior vaginal wall repair that do not involve mesh for POP therapy since they have been demonstrated to be extremely successful in the long term without some of the risks associated with vaginal mesh usage.
Surgery may be conducted with or without the use of surgical mesh. The use of mesh may raise the risk of additional procedures owing to mesh problems. Additional procedures may not resolve all medical issues in a small proportion of people. However, surgical intervention and therapy with mesh may provide a more lasting correction of the prolapse than non-mesh operations. Consult an expert to determine patient and surgical factors before undergoing reconstructive pelvic surgery.
Pelvic Pain After Mesh Surgery Implantation
Mesh implantation is a pelvic reconstructive surgery commonly used to treat various medical conditions, including hernias, pelvic organ prolapse, and stress urinary incontinence. Pain is a common part of the healing process after any surgical procedure, including mesh implantation. As your body heals, it’s normal to experience discomfort, soreness, or pain at the surgical site. This is a natural response to surgery and should subside over time.
Your clitoris, labia, vagina, urethra, perineum, anus, or rectum may experience scorching, electric shock, shooting, hurting, itching, or a raw sensation after female pelvic floor surgery. Because of your vaginal pain, you may find it difficult to sit or walk. You can also have bladder or bowel disorders or leaks. This inflammation might occur without causing significant discomfort. There may be pain associated with sex or excitement. At times, the affected region may feel numb.
You may feel pain in your buttocks, legs, hips, and feet. This is because your spinal cord supplies the skin in this area, and your brain ‘perceives’ the pain in the skin of your legs, feet, and buttocks as the same.
However, if you are experiencing persistent pelvic pain after mesh implantation, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider. They may conduct further examinations, such as physical examination or imaging studies, to determine the cause of the pain and recommend appropriate treatment options, including physical therapy, pain management strategies, mesh removal, or other surgical interventions. It’s important to communicate your symptoms and concerns openly with your healthcare team to ensure you receive the necessary care and support.
Conditions that Mimic Mesh Complications
Mesh-related complications include pelvic discomfort, persistent pain, bleeding, and urinary difficulties that might be mistaken for other disorders, such as ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and a severe bladder ailment called interstitial cystitis.
Chronic pelvic discomfort is a symptom of pudendal nerve entrapment, commonly known as pudendal neuralgia. One of the most prevalent causes of pudendal neuralgia is pelvic surgery using mesh to cure pelvic organ prolapse. When mesh needs to be removed, the incidence increases.
Patients should ask their physicians to rule out mesh problems such as pudendal neuralgia to reduce surgical complications and prevent unnecessary surgical treatment for other diseases.