In the last several years, many individuals have experienced severe medical issues caused by their hernia mesh. The FDA has issued multiple hernia mesh recalls, but not everyone knows what type of mesh was used in their surgery. Thousands of injured patients have filed hernia mesh lawsuits. A verdict was rendered for more than $1.5 million for one case while other victims await trial.
Hernia Mesh Overview
When people have weakened muscle in their abdominal wall or groin area, sometimes organs, tissue, or a portion of their intestine squeezes through. This causes pain and is only repairable through surgery. United States doctors repair around one million hernias every year, using mesh 80 percent of the time.
While doctors can perform both laparoscopic and open repair surgery without mesh, using it makes the repair stronger. Without it, the hernia has a high likelihood of recurrence. The right kind of mesh speeds surgery, reducing the amount of time the patient is on the operating table. It also speeds recovery time compared to situations where mesh is not used.
Most Common Complications
With all types of hernia repair, whether or not surgeons use mesh, patients experience pain and a risk of infection. The FDA has investigated hernia repair with mesh and found the following additional complications:
- Tenderness where doctors implanted mesh
- Hernia recurrence
- Fluid buildup around incision
- Mesh sticking to intestines
- Mesh rejection
- Nerve damage
- Autoimmune response
Some patients have experienced symptoms that cause extreme pain and could be life-threatening. The most serious symptoms are the ones the FDA lists as the most common:
When the body views mesh as a foreign object, its reaction is to attack. In some cases a round of strong antibiotics is enough to treat the infection, but in others the mesh requires removal. Possible reactions include severe swelling and flu-like symptoms. Symptoms may not start until years after surgery, and long-term irritation creates scar tissue.
Sometimes during hernia repair, mesh remains in contact with the intestines. The two stick together and can cause a bowel obstruction. In patients with the types of mesh the FDA later recalled, this condition required doctors to remove part of their intestines because they were stuck to the mesh.
When it’s placed inside the abdomen, mesh can cause an intestinal blockage. Patients experience intense nausea and vomiting with constipation. If they don’t seek immediate treatment, intestinal death may result. Sometimes mesh works its way through the intestines and causes bowel contents to seep into the abdominal cavity. This also is a life-threatening emergency that can cause infection of the bloodstream.
The FDA’s website provides information on what types of mesh have been recalled. If you’re not sure what type of mesh your healthcare provider used, your surgeon or healthcare facility should be able to provide you with additional information. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to surgical mesh, the experienced attorneys at GTB&S can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us at 419-843-6663 for a free consultation.