Transvaginal Mesh: Uses and Mesh Complications in Women

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What is Transvaginal Mesh Used For

Surgical mesh is a medical device currently made from synthetic materials or animal tissue. This type of mesh was created to provide support to damaged or weakened tissue. For women, transvaginal mesh implants are used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

When the muscles and surrounding tissues weaken around the pelvic organs, it can cause the pelvic organs to “fall” out of place and can protrude down the vagina (pelvic organ prolapse or POP). Thousands of women have used surgical mesh or transvaginal mesh to treat pelvic floor disorders or pelvic organ prolapse. Transvaginal mesh implants have also been used to treat stress urinary incontinence.

Pelvic organs that may be subject to “bulging” out of the vaginal include uterus, rectum, bladder, vagina, and urethra. The bladder is the most common organ to prolapse in POP situations which are called cystocele. Factors that increase the chance of pelvic organ prolapse in women can include aging, pregnancy, and childbirth.

Factors that increase the chance of stress urinary incontinence include activities that put pressure on the abdomen. Abdomen stressors for SUI include pregnancy, childbirth, and aging. The increased pressure can cause urine to leak out of the stretched-out neck of the bladder. Activities that would stress the bladder enough to allow urine to leak include but are not limited to sneezing, coughing, laughing, and exercising.

Surgical mesh’s initial intended use for POP was to be implanted to reinforce the weakened vaginal wall. Before 2019, thousands of women have transvaginal mesh surgery to strengthen their pelvic floor. In 2019, the FDA banned the manufacturing and selling of surgical mesh intended for transvaginal use in the United States (see below for details).

Vaginal Mesh Implants To Repair POP and SUI

  • Transvaginal mesh insertion
  • Transabdominal mesh insertion
  • Mesh sling for SUI treatment

What is Surgical Mesh?

As mentioned above, surgical mesh is a synthetic material that may be implanted to support various tissues or even organs. The most popular type of surgical mesh is made of polypropylene which is a synthetic plastic, also known as synthetic mesh.

Surgical mesh resembles a screen-like material that is made up of layering of singular or various materials mentioned above. There are other various materials that make up the different types of surgical mesh.

Types of Surgical Mesh

  • Absorbable synthetic polymers
  • Non-absorbable synthetic polymers: synthetic plastic
  • Biologic: acellular sourced from animals such as cows or pigs
  • Composite: a combination of materials

Most mesh used to treat weakened or damaged tissue vaginally is synthetic. Synthetic non-absorbable transvaginal mesh was used to treat thousands of women with pelvic floor disorder because it was used to repair or treat pelvic organ prolapse. Surgical treatment for this type of transvaginal prolapse is the only way to strengthen the weakened tissue and muscle that prevents pelvic organs from bulging out.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications: POP Pelvic Organ Prolapse

In April 2019, The Food and Drug Administration deemed pelvic organ prolapse mesh to be neither safe nor effective. The FDA, therefore, stopped all sales of mesh for POP pelvic organ prolapse. This came after 2016 when the same agency reclassified transvaginal mesh pelvic organ prolapse repair as extremely high risk as complications related to the surgery and pelvic mesh were not rare.

Most reported surgical mesh complications were due to vaginal mesh erosion. The erosion occurs when the surgical mesh becomes exposed after the device wears through vaginal tissue. These mesh-related complications cause pelvic pain and pain with intercourse.

Complications Can Include:

  • Painful sex
  • Infections
  • Bleeding Vaginal mesh contraction
  • Vaginal mesh erosion
  • Erosion of mesh into other organs or tissue
  • Pelvic organ prolapse returns

The FDA determined that complications related to non-absorbable synthetic mesh surgery were, in fact, not rare. A high rate of women who experienced erosion with the synthetic mesh material had to have surgery or sometimes two operations to have the mesh removed.

Unfortunately, having the synthetic mesh removed doesn’t always cure the pain. Many women still report having pain and discomfort even after the non-absorbable synthetic mesh was removed.

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

Lawsuits that alleged transvaginal mesh causes complications have come to an alarming number of over 108,000. Some of the complications mentioned in these cases included bleeding, infection, organ perforation, and pain. The women in these cases who received transvaginal mesh implants say they suffered the above pain symptoms due to complications of the surgical mesh devices.

Thousands of women who have had surgical mesh implanted in order to treat pelvic floor disorders have sued manufacturing companies for these devices. Some patients have won multi-million dollar verdicts, such as Barbara Kaiser, in 2019 was awarded $35 million thanks to the help of her transvaginal mesh attorney Tom Plouff.

What To Do If You’re Seeking Legal Action Regarding Transvaginal Mesh Complications

Thousands of women have filed against surgical mesh manufacturing companies. These women have suffered pain, bleeding, infections, erosion of mesh, and much more. Many of these women have undergone surgical treatment to remove surgical mesh that has eroded. In many cases, the pain caused by this type of surgical repair of the pelvic organ can still cause pain and even emotional pain.

Seek Legal Advice

If you’re wondering where to start, it’s comforting to seek legal advice. If you’ve suffered any injury or pain related to prolapse surgery, you can hold surgical mesh manufacturing companies accountable for the suffering they’ve caused you and thousands of women.

Depending on the facts of your legal case, you may have a cause for legal action and may be entitled to recover damages for pain, disability, low wages, medical bills, and much more. Chances are, you like many women, have similar scenarios in which many women were already able to settle for millions of dollars for pain and suffering.

If you are unsure if you have a case against the manufacturing companies, contact us. If you are ready to take the next step, contact Chicago attorney Tom Plouff for a free consultation and information.



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