If you are considering surgery that requires pelvic mesh, or were injured by pelvic mesh during a recent surgery, you probably have a number of questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about pelvic mesh and its litigation.
What does pelvic mesh do?
Surgical mesh was originally developed in the 1950s to repair hernia,1 a condition that can affect men, women or children.2 Since the 1970s, pelvic mesh has been used in gynecological surgeries, in particular to correct pelvic organ prolapse in women and urinary stress incontinence (bladder leakage).1 Permanent surgical mesh is usually made of plastic and is inserted to help support the muscles and tissues in the pelvis.3
What are the complications of using pelvic mesh?
Transvaginal mesh placement tends to have more complications that pelvic prolapse surgery because of exposure of the mesh through the vaginal tissue, called protrusion or extrusion.4
Complications of transvaginal pelvic mesh surgery include:3
- Urinary problems
- Pain during sex
- Organ perforation
- Recurrent prolapse
- Vaginal scarring
Complications from using pelvic mesh for hernia repair include:5
- Adhesion to the intestines
- Blood vessel and nerve injuries
- Injury to nearby organs
Some adverse effects are seen in hernia repair with or without the use of surgical mesh. These include pain, infection or recurrence of the hernia.
What are the risk factors for adverse reactions to pelvic mesh?
The risk factors for pelvic mesh injury include:
- Patient age
- Low estrogen levels
- The size of the mesh implant
- The surgical technique used by the surgeon
Pelvic mesh injury can occur within a few months after surgery to more than a year after the procedure. Abdominal incisions tend to take longer to develop symptoms of adverse reactions than transvaginal incisions.
What are the legal options for pelvic mesh injury?
The state of New Jersey currently has a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for women who were treated with pelvic mesh made by its subsidiary Gynecare.6 The trial started in January 2013 and is the first to make it to the courts, though a number of personal injury lawsuits have been filed in other states.7
Finding an attorney to review the particular facts of your case can help you determine your legal options. If a recalled pelvic mesh implant was used in your surgery, or if you experienced injury from pelvic mesh for hernia or prolapse repair, a lawyer can help you file a claim.