Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common condition that affects women who have had children or a hysterectomy or suffer from urinary incontinence.1 In the United States, tens of thousands of procedures to correct POP are performed each year. One of the most common prolapse repair methods includes the use of pelvic mesh implants2; however, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has discovered, pelvic mesh implants have serious complications, including serious infections.3
Pelvic mesh implant complications
After receiving thousands of complaints, the federal government found that various pelvic mesh implants, such as Gynecare Prolift, Bard Avaulta, and ProteGen, caused a number of medical problems. The range of pelvic mesh implant complications4 includes:
- Urinary problems
- Vaginal wall erosion
- Pain during intercourse
- Abscesses (collection of pus associated with infection)
- Abdominal pain and pressure
- Organ perforation
As a result, problems linked to pelvic mesh implants have required corrective surgeries and treatments.
Pelvic mesh implant infections
The FDA recognizes that one of the major complications of pelvic mesh implant use is infection.5 According to researchers, pelvic mesh implant infections are an emerging problem that complicates reconstructive POP surgery.6
During placement of surgical mesh in prolapse surgery, the mesh can be contaminated with bacteria. The infection generally occurs in the area where the mesh was placed. Symptoms of pelvic mesh infections7 include:
- Nonspecific pelvic pain
- Persistent vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding
- Painful urination
- Urinary incontinence
- Fecal incontinence (also called bowel or anal incontinence)
Infection can cause the mesh to break down into surrounding tissues and organs. As a result different and multiple treatments may be needed to rid the body of infections related to pelvic mesh implants.
What to do about a pelvic mesh implant infection
After a pelvic mesh surgery, patients should watch for signs and symptoms of infection, active or chronic. If a patient suspects a problem, he or she should contact a doctor immediately.
Treatment for pelvic mesh implant infections may not always be simple. In some cases, treatment with strong antibiotics may work; however, removal of the mesh may be necessary. In some cases, as the mesh erodes, it may require more than one surgery8 to removal the infection-causing implant.
About 33 companies make surgical meshes, including Johnson & Johnson, Bard, and Boston Scientific.9 These companies make billions of dollars each year, and federal law demands that they make safe products. In the case of pelvic mesh implants, these companies have failed in their duty to provide the public with safe products and have put patients at serious risk for harm.
For those already injured by pelvic meshes implants following urinary incontinence or pelvic prolapse surgery, there is hope. An experienced lawyer can help you better understand your legal recourse and protect your rights.