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Consumer Protection and Product Recalls

The Incredible Failure Rate of “Surgical Mesh”


What is surgical mesh?

Surgical mesh is used most often in hernia surgeries and in pelvic reconstruction.  Organs and tissue sometimes bulge through openings in one’s abdominal wall. Surgical mesh can be placed over the bulge to hold the organ or tissue in place.

In about half of older women who’ve had children, the muscles and tissue supporting the pelvic organs may weaken.  In these cases, surgical mesh can be inserted to support the pelvic organs.

Basically, surgical mesh is used to reinforce muscle or organs that are bulging into other areas because of weakened tissue.

So, what’s the big deal?

The problem with surgical mesh is that many versions of it have been recalled.  Manufacturers like C.R. Bard, Ethicon, American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, and Coloplast have all manufactured surgical mesh which was recalled.

At least some of these manufacturers knew decades ago that they were making defective products. CR Bard was warned by its suppliers that the exterior of the mesh contains synthetic resins which should not be used for implants in humans, and which can dissolve.  After being warned, CR Bard’s management hid from suppliers that it was using synthetic resin to make surgical mesh. Read more here.

At the height of its use, surgical mesh was being implanted in nearly 300,000 patients per year.  There could be tens of thousands of patients across the US with failing surgical mesh implants.

Additionally, the material used to make up the mesh can deteriorate.  The pieces of the deteriorated mesh can migrate and move to other parts of the body.  This can cause infection or sepsis where the mesh ends up.

Why was surgical mesh recalled?

The use of surgical mesh has been linked to a large number of complications in patients.  The failure rate of surgical mesh has been conservatively measured at about 20%. That means about 1 in 5 people with implanted surgical mesh have mesh that will fail. Some of the complications from the failure of surgical mesh include:

·         Infection, including sepsis;

·         Adhesions (tissue connecting the mesh to a patient’s bowel);

·         Bowel obstruction (caused by adhesions);

·         Abdominal pain (associated with the above);

·         Leg/groin pain;

·         Pain during sex;

·         Diarrhea, constipation, and nausea;

·         Seroma (a fluid sac surrounding the mesh);

·         Fistula (an abnormal connection between an organ and another structure);

·         Dental problems associated with infection;

·         Autoimmune disorders;

·         Neurological changes;

·         Severe headaches;

·         Fever;

·         Kidney failure;

·         Liver complications;

·         Joint aches and pains; and

·         Meshoma (the mesh moving or bunching up).

Can I sue the company that manufactured my surgical mesh?

Yes.  There are ongoing MDLs against the manufacturers of several of the recalled mesh products.  Read more about MDLs here.

This means you can take part in a large-scale lawsuit to hold these manufacturers responsible.  If you have a case and prevail, you could recover for the harms you have suffered as a result of these manufacturers conduct.

What do I do?

If you have a surgical mesh implant and are experiencing complications, you need to seek an attorney.

David H. Williams has decades of experience assisting patients in recovering money for damages from negligent manufacturers. Contact us today for a free consultation to determine whether you may have a case.

David Williams