To date, over 100,000 lawsuits have alleged that transvaginal mesh causes complications including severe and chronic pain, infections, reduced mobility, sexual difficulties, autoimmune issues, and psychological strain.
So, what is transvaginal mesh, what is it used for, and what does a transvaginal lawsuit look like?
Synthetic, surgical mesh is made of a supposedly medical grade plastic, known as polypropylene and is most commonly used in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). POP is nothing to be ashamed of – in fact – 50% of women will have some degree of prolapse over their lifetime, with about 12% needing surgery. Women who require treatment because of POP will have the mesh inserted to reinforce a weak vaginal wall, either done through the abdomen (transabdominal) or the vagina (transvaginal).
Many of these women have had their POP or SUI treated by the implantation of synthetic mesh. And if you or someone you know is experiencing complications following mesh implantation, you are not alone. The most common side effects from synthetic mesh range from dyspareunia (pain during intercourse), erosion or extrusion of mesh, chronic pelvic pain, and fistula formation.
For many patients, the significant risks that polypropylene mesh pose in the long term outweigh any benefits they may receive. Mesh complications include severe and chronic pain, infections, reduced mobility, sexual difficulties, autoimmune issues, and psychological strain. Many patients will require a follow-up or corrective surgery, which can lead to a host of complications. Some women implanted with transvaginal mesh experience a worsening of their medical condition after receiving the polypropylene mesh. Symptoms that could be made worse include urinary and bowel problems, chronic pain, chronic inflammation, reoccurring prolapse, and dyspareunia (pain from sex).
If you’re asking yourself how or why these products were ever on the market, you’re not alone. In 2002, the first mesh devices for transvaginal repair of POP was cleared for use as a moderate risk device. Cleared is different than approved. When a device is “cleared”, it merely means that a substantially similar device is already on the market. No further testing is required, unlike when a device is “approved”.
Nothing about the clearance process concerns safety or the effectiveness of the device. For mesh devices cleared, the original “substantially similar” device itself has raised safety concerns from the FDA. In 2019, the FDA ordered all manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products indicated for the repair of POP to stop selling and distributing their products in the United States. The FDA stated that mesh manufacturers such as Boston Scientific and Coloplast did not demonstrate a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for their devices.
Almost half of women who sought treatment of a mesh related complication were treated at a facility different than where their initial mesh procedure was performed. This means many doctors who have performed mesh procedures are potentially unaware of these complications that their patients experience and therefore are unaware of how many women are experiencing these complications. Further, transvaginal mesh complications may require multiple surgeries in order to reverse any damages, and even then, there may be permanent health issues.
How does a transvaginal mesh lawsuit work?
A mesh lawsuit begins when the injured party, here, a woman who has been hurt by her mesh implant, files a complaint. The complaint itself will allege which parties are responsible for the injuries which can include the mesh manufacturer and the implanting surgeon.
The lawsuit process is not quick, with cases in average taking two to three years from the filing of the complaint to the ultimate resolution of either a settlement or a jury trial. The process is complex and typically involves bringing in expert witnesses. Expert witnesses are brought in to testify in legal proceedings because of their highly specialized knowledge and proficiency in certain areas. Here, they may be current or former surgeons who have extensive experience with mesh implanting and/or explanting. Their testimony helps fill in the gaps for the judge and jury to understand the highly technical, medical complexities that come with transvaginal mesh.
One of the reasons these cases also take so long is the uphill battle that comes with challenging major medical companies. Armed with teams of attorneys and seemingly unlimited resources, it is likely the medical companies will fight tooth and nail to exclude expert witnesses, keep certain facts out of the case (such as that the mesh was technically cleared and not approved by the FDA), and even try to blame the injuries and complications on the women herself. Be assured that our team is highly prepared to face each of these challenges head on, as a testament to the x amount of cases we have successfully handled in favor of women harmed by transvaginal mesh.
What does recovery look like?
If you or someone you know how has been injured by polypropylene mesh products, there are several types of recovery available. Jurieshave awarded both compensatory and punitive damages, in the range of millions of dollars, and these verdicts have generally stood up in whole or in part with judicial review Other damages include recovery for pain and suffering, loss of consortium. With transvaginal mesh legal cases, the patient only pays for legal services if there is a recovery. This is referred to as a contingency fee arrangement, which mean your attorney(s) only get paid if you do.