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The use of transvaginal mesh quickly became popular as a very simple and uncomplicated alternative in the treatment of conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. There are now thousands of lawsuits mounting against the largest manufacturers of these devices, however, due to the concealment of very serious risks and complications to the public. Women who have been injured by these devices have often undergone intense physical pain and devastating emotional trauma after being unable to enjoy normal sexual function or the same quality of living they were accustomed to.
What are the Most Common Complications Linked to Transvaginal Mesh?
Transvaginal mesh is a product that is used as a sling in order to hold the pelvic organs in place so that women suffering from incontinence and other complications could find relief from their symptoms. While marketed as a safe, effective and easy form of treatment, the FDA ultimately determined that the occurrence of complications was commonplace. By July of 2011, the FDA had received over 4,000 complaints and the total number of lawsuits filed against mesh manufacturers exceeded 70,000 by early 2015.
The most common defects and complications from the use of these products includes the following.
- Erosion of the material— when the mesh erodes, it actually wears into the internal organs. Women have reported intense pain, internal bleeding, painful intercourse and erosion of the urinary tract. In addition to these complications, the urinary tract and eroded organs can become infected.
- Perforation of internal organs— transvaginal mesh has been known to perforate organs, meaning that the organs are penetrated by the mesh, leading to bleeding, the hollowing of the organs, pain, the contamination of blood by urine and waste, infection and septic shock. In a great number of cases, surgery is required to mitigate the impact of complications.
- Autoimmune reactions— in some cases, these devices have sparked autoimmune responses where the body has attacked its own cells in the areas surrounding the device.
- Nerve damage— when the mesh perforates surrounding organs and tissue it is possible for nerve damage to occur, which may make sexual intercourse impossible and contribute to incontinence.
- Increased incontinence— in a stroke of irony, the complications caused by these products can actually worsen incontinence, which is the very condition they are often meant to treat.
- Vaginal bleeding— this is often contributed to erosion of the device. In one case, a victim experienced the complete perforation of both vaginal walls.
- Infection— any of the injuries that are caused by mesh erosion can result in infection, especially when the bladder or bowel is perforated.
Erosion of the mesh through the vaginal wall is the most common complaint the FDA has received. Roughly 4% of women who have undergone transvaginal mesh procedures suffered from the erosion of the material into the vaginal walls. 3.5% of women experienced perforation of the bladder 5.8% experienced another form of organ damage and the overall complication rate has been as high as 10%.
Surgical Removal Not Always Possible
The most effective method of treating the complications arising from transvaginal mesh is to remove the material, but its erosion can make doing so extremely difficult. In some instances, it is outright impossible and many women have reported needing to undergo numerous surgeries without a positive outcome. Victims have often compared their suffering to walking around with sharp objects inside of their bodies and their physical suffering is accompanied with emotional anguish and shame. It is for this reason that the largest manufacturers of the devices are currently facing legal action from over 70,000 women and the number continues to grow as more victims come forward with claims.
Learn more about reported risks regarding Superbugs here