Common Transvaginal Mesh Complications [2024 Guide]

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A Guide to Transvaginal Mesh Complications

On this page, we’ll discuss Common transvaginal mesh complications, injuries associated with transvaginal mesh procedures, what to do if you believe you qualify for a vaginal mesh lawsuit, and much more.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications: Health Effects and Injuries

Transvaginal mesh implants in female pelvic reconstructive surgery are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) was seen initially as a medical breakthrough.

However, a growing body of evidence has revealed major issues with these medical devices, associating vaginal mesh implants with serious complications and injuries.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications; Transvaginal Mesh Injuries; Vaginal Mesh Complications; What Is Transvaginal Mesh; Potential Transvaginal Mesh Complications And Injuries; Potential Treatment For Vaginal Mesh Complications; Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

Transvaginal mesh injuries can range from mild discomfort to severe, life-altering conditions and, in some cases, even death.

A thorough understanding of these potential risks is crucial for women who have undergone transvaginal mesh surgery. 

If you have experienced any complications after transvaginal mesh surgery, it is vital to seek medical attention and legal advice as soon as possible.

For legal assistance with vaginal mesh complications, contact TorHoerman Law today for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for the transvaginal mesh lawsuit instantly.

Table of Contents

What is Transvaginal Mesh?

The female pelvic area is a complex network of muscles and tissues that support the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum.

When pelvic floor muscles weaken or stretch due to childbirth, age, or other factors such as obesity or chronic constipation, the pelvic organs may drop from their normal positions.

Pelvic floor disorder (PFD) affects bowel and bladder function.

According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, “mesh” is a term commonly used to describe a number of different types of devices that can be implanted into the body to support the body’s organs and other tissues.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications; Transvaginal Mesh Injuries; Vaginal Mesh Complications; What Is Transvaginal Mesh

Urogynecologic surgical mesh implants or transvaginal mesh were introduced as a solution to pelvic floor disorders, such as:

  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse: POP happens when the muscles and tissues supporting the pelvic organs tear, weaken, or get damaged, causing them to sag or drop down into the vaginal wall. This issue can lead to symptoms such as pressure in the pelvis and difficulty emptying the bladder. It often occurs after pelvic surgery, childbirth, or menopause.
  • Stress Urinary Incontinence: SUI is a common type of bladder control problem that affects women. It occurs when the sphincter muscle, which controls urine flow, weakens and allows leakage with sudden pressure on the abdomen or pelvic area. SUI can happen during physical activities such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, lifting, or exercising.

Vaginal mesh implants were designed to support and reinforce weakened pelvic floor muscles and tissues, providing additional strength to the pelvic area.

These surgical mesh devices are typically made of polypropylene, a type of plastic commonly used in various medical devices.

These synthetic mesh implants were initially used in abdominal surgery but later adapted for transvaginal mesh surgery due to their minimally invasive nature.

While transvaginal mesh surgery may seem like a simple and effective solution, the reality is that these pelvic mesh devices can cause serious injuries.

Thousands of women have reported experiencing mesh-related complications after undergoing transvaginal mesh surgery, leading to multiple lawsuits and settlements.

Potential Transvaginal Mesh Complications and Injuries

Transvaginal mesh devices were intended to repair pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, but instead, they have caused severe and often irreversible harm to many women.

These outcomes have been far-reaching and multifaceted, profoundly impacting not only physical health but also the psychological and emotional well-being of patients.

Women who underwent this procedure with the hope of finding relief from pelvic conditions have instead found themselves facing a host of new and often severe challenges.

The physical repercussions of these complications extend beyond immediate post-surgical issues, often requiring long-term medical attention, repeated hospital visits, and sometimes additional surgical interventions.

The complexity and invasiveness of these treatments can lead to a prolonged recovery period, disrupting daily life and activities.

The chronic nature of some of these issues can lead to a continuous cycle of medical care and management, placing a significant burden on the affected individuals.

Emotionally and psychologically, the impact of these complications is profound.

Many women experience a decrease in their quality of life, grappling with the emotional toll of ongoing physical discomfort and the uncertainty surrounding their health outcomes.

This situation can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and a diminished sense of self-worth, further exacerbated by the potential strain on personal relationships and intimacy issues.

Financially, the burden can be equally challenging.

The cost of ongoing medical treatments, potential loss of income due to inability to work, and other related expenses can lead to significant financial strain.

This economic impact only adds to the stress and anxiety already experienced by the affected women, creating a compounding effect on their overall well-being.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications; Transvaginal Mesh Injuries; Vaginal Mesh Complications; What Is Transvaginal Mesh; Potential Transvaginal Mesh Complications And Injuries

Common injuries and complications associated with transvaginal mesh implants include:

  • Vaginal mesh erosion
  • Vaginal mesh infection
  • Vaginal mesh exposure
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Severe pain and discomfort
  • Vaginal scarring and vaginal bleeding
  • Organ and tissue perforation
  • Recurrent prolapse and SUI
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Dyspareunia
  • Emotional and psychological impacts

Vaginal Mesh Erosion

Vaginal mesh erosion is a prevalent complication that occurs when the synthetic mesh intended to support the vaginal wall starts protruding through the vaginal tissue.

Erosion often manifests with symptoms such as pain, discomfort, and a palpable bulge.

Left unaddressed, vaginal mesh erosion can spiral into serious health issues, recurrent infections, and even permanent organ damage.

Vaginal Mesh Infection

Infections linked to transvaginal mesh implants can emerge due to the introduction of foreign materials into the body.

Manifesting with symptoms like redness, swelling, pain, and discharge, infections pose a significant threat.

In severe cases, infections can spread systemically, leading to sepsis and other life-threatening conditions.

Vaginal Mesh Exposure

Vaginal mesh exposure refers to the visible protrusion of the mesh through the vaginal canal.

This issue occurs when the transvaginal mesh implant migrates or breaks down, causing the pelvic mesh to protrude through the vaginal wall.

The exposed mesh can cause severe pain during physical activities or sexual intercourse and potentially lead to infection or erosion if not promptly addressed.

Chronic Pelvic Pain

Chronic pelvic pain is a pervasive and challenging complication associated with transvaginal mesh implants.

This persistent discomfort may arise due to nerve damage, tissue scarring, or other vaginal mesh complications.

Regardless of the cause, chronic pelvic pain can significantly impact a person’s physical and emotional well-being, necessitating a multidisciplinary approach to pain management and emotional support.

Severe Pain and Discomfort

Aside from chronic pelvic pain, women who have undergone transvaginal mesh surgery may also experience severe and persistent pain in other areas, such as the abdomen, groin, lower back, thighs, and legs.

This pain can be debilitating and interfere with daily activities, resulting in reduced quality of life.

Addressing the underlying cause of this pain may require additional surgical treatment and extensive physical therapy.

Vaginal Scarring and Bleeding

The insertion of transvaginal mesh or mesh removal can result in scarring, leading to nerve or tissue damage.

This scarring can cause discomfort and pain during intercourse, chronic pain, or other complications.

In severe cases, vaginal mesh scarring can also result in bleeding or infection, requiring further surgical intervention to address the damage from the mesh implant.

Organ and Tissue Perforation

In some instances, the pelvic mesh may puncture nearby organs or tissues, posing a grave risk to the patient.

This complication can result in severe pain, infection, and the need for additional surgical interventions to repair the internal damage.

In extreme cases, organ or tissue perforation can also lead to life-threatening conditions that require emergency medical care.

Recurring POP and SUI Symptoms

Instead of alleviating pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) symptoms, transvaginal mesh implants may fail, leading to the recurrence of these conditions.

Vaginal mesh failure can occur due to a variety of factors, including mesh erosion or exposure, infection, or other complications.

This failure not only undermines the effectiveness of the initial surgery but also puts patients at risk for additional medical interventions and potential long-term consequences.

Urinary Problems

In some cases, the transvaginal mesh implant can affect the bladder and urinary system.

Mesh-related complications can include difficulty urinating, frequent urination, incontinence, and frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).

These issues significantly affect the patient’s overall quality of life, potentially leading to social isolation and emotional distress.

In some cases, urinary problems may require further medical treatment or intervention.

Dyspareunia

Pain during sexual intercourse, known as dyspareunia, is a common complaint among individuals with transvaginal mesh implants.

Vaginal mesh can cause discomfort, pain, or bleeding during intercourse, leading to a decrease in sexual desire and satisfaction.

This issue can strain relationships and negatively impact a person’s mental and emotional well-being.

Emotional and Psychological Impact

The physical complications associated with transvaginal mesh can have a profound emotional and psychological impact on affected individuals.

Depression, anxiety, negative body image, self-esteem issues, and a diminished quality of life are common among those who have experienced vaginal mesh complications.

Seeking emotional support and counseling is crucial in managing the mental health effects of these complications.

Potential Treatment for Vaginal Mesh Complications

Addressing the consequences of vaginal mesh complications involves a multifaceted approach tailored to the unique circumstances of each patient.

Medical professionals consider various factors, including the severity and nature of the complications, the patient’s overall health, and the specific challenges they face, to develop an effective treatment strategy.

These strategies often require a combination of interventions, ranging from less invasive methods to more complex procedures, depending on the patient’s specific needs and the extent of the complications.

Additionally, supportive therapies aimed at managing the psychological and emotional impacts of these complications play a crucial role in the overall treatment plan.

Continuous monitoring and follow-up care are essential to adapt treatment strategies over time and ensure the best possible outcomes for those affected by vaginal mesh complications.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications; Transvaginal Mesh Injuries; Vaginal Mesh Complications; What Is Transvaginal Mesh; Potential Transvaginal Mesh Complications And Injuries; Potential Treatment For Vaginal Mesh Complications

Common treatments for complications associated with vaginal mesh include:

  • Medication
  • Mesh removal surgery
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain management
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Counseling and Support Groups

Medication

Medical management is a critical component in addressing transvaginal mesh complications.

A healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs to eliminate infection or reduce inflammation.

These medications offer targeted relief, helping to alleviate symptoms while addressing the underlying issue.

Mesh Removal Surgery

In cases of severe complications, the removal of the transvaginal mesh may be necessary.

However, this transvaginal mesh procedure is not without risks, as pieces of the mesh may be complex to remove completely, leading to additional complications such as persistent pain, bleeding, or infection.

Patients must consult their healthcare providers and carefully weigh the risks and benefits before opting for mesh removal surgery.

According to a study published in the Arab Journal of Urology by Bergersen et al, et al,

Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive surgery may be what a patient needs to repair damage from the mesh.

This medical procedure is particularly beneficial in cases of organ perforation or significant tissue damage.

During reconstructive surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged tissue and repairs any organs that may have been affected by the mesh implant.

Patients may require longer-term recovery and physical therapy after this type of surgery.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often an essential part of treatment for transvaginal mesh complications.

This treatment helps to relieve pain, improve range of motion, and restore pelvic organ function.

Additionally, physical therapy can also help prevent the recurrence of POP or SUI symptoms by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.

Pain Management

For patients experiencing chronic pain due to vaginal mesh complications, pain management techniques may be necessary.

These techniques may include medication, injections, nerve blocks, or alternative therapies such as acupuncture or massage therapy.

Pain management can significantly improve a patient’s overall quality of life and reduce the need for additional surgeries.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle changes, such as pelvic floor exercises, dietary adjustments, and stress management techniques, are pivotal in managing some complications and improving overall well-being.

These changes can help reduce urinary problems, pain, and discomfort that transvaginal mesh complications have caused.

Moreover, empowering individuals with practical strategies enhances their ability to participate in their care actively.

Counseling and Support Groups

The emotional toll of transvaginal mesh complications can be as overwhelming as the physical symptoms.

Counseling and participation in support groups can provide valuable psychological support for those navigating these challenges.

These resources provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, receive emotional support, and gain insight into coping strategies.

Counseling can also help patients manage the psychological effects of complications and improve their overall mental health.

The treatment for vaginal mesh complications varies depending on the type and severity of the issue.

In some cases, non-invasive treatments such as physical therapy or medication may be sufficient to address the problem.

However, more severe complications may require surgical intervention, which can range from minor procedures to remove the mesh to more extensive surgeries to repair internal damage the implant caused.

Patients need to work closely with their healthcare providers to determine the best course of treatment for their specific circumstances.

Each case is unique, and a personalized approach to treatment is crucial in achieving the best possible outcome.

With proper care and support, those experiencing transvaginal mesh complications can manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

The prevalence of transvaginal mesh complications has led to adverse events and recalls of several mesh products.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received thousands of reports from women who have experienced complications due to transvaginal mesh implants.

After a careful and lengthy investigation, the agency banned the sale and distribution of vaginal mesh products in April 2019.

Currently, no FDA-approved surgical mesh products are available in the United States.

As a result of the vaginal mesh complications, many victims have filed numerous lawsuits against the manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products.

These lawsuits claim that the manufacturers were aware of the risks associated with their products but failed to disclose them adequately.

Additionally, the 501(k) clearance process, which allows the quick approval of medical devices without clinical testing, has come under scrutiny, with some arguing that it contributed to the widespread use of transvaginal mesh products despite known risks.

The high number of lawsuits prompted the consolidation of cases into multidistrict litigations (MDLs).

The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized the vaginal mesh MDLs, which involved seven different manufacturers and over 100,000 cases.

These MDLs aimed to streamline the legal process and enable more efficient resolution of cases.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications; Transvaginal Mesh Injuries; Vaginal Mesh Complications; What Is Transvaginal Mesh; Potential Transvaginal Mesh Complications And Injuries; Potential Treatment For Vaginal Mesh Complications; Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

Here is a list of the seven manufacturers involved in the vaginal mesh MDLs and some of their transvaginal mesh or sling products:

  1. American Medical Systems (AMS): Retroarc, Apogee, Perigee, Elevate, Miniarc, Monarc, Sparc
  2. Boston Scientific Corp.: Pinnacle, Advantage, Advantage Fit, Obtryx
  3. C.R. Bard, Inc.: Avaulta Solo, Avaulta Plus, Pelvitex, PelviSoft, Pelvicol, PelviLace
  4. Ethicon, Inc. (a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary): Obtape, Prolift, Gynecare TVT, Gynecare Gynemesh, Artisyn
  5. Coloplast Corp.: Restorelle, Aris, Axis and Suspend, Altis, Supris
  6. Cook Medical Inc.: Surgisis, Stratasis
  7. Neomedic: Needleless, Contasure, Remeex, Surelift

District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the latest transvaginal mesh MDL at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

He closed the MDL in November 2022 after reaching settlements between manufacturers and thousands of plaintiffs.

However, he returned remanded cases to their respective courts for further litigation.

Those who have experienced complications due to transvaginal mesh implants may still be eligible to file a lawsuit in their state court and seek compensation for their injuries.

It is essential to consult with an experienced attorney to determine the best legal recourse based on individual circumstances.

TorHoerman Law: Your Transvaginal Mesh Lawyer

A comprehensive understanding of the potential complications and injuries associated with transvaginal mesh is vital for women affected by these issues.

Each aspect requires thoughtful consideration and targeted interventions, from the physical complexities of mesh-related complications to the emotional and psychological toll.

Seeking timely medical attention, exploring potential treatments, and understanding the legal avenues available are essential steps for those who have experienced complications from transvaginal mesh implants.

TorHoerman Law is committed to aiding individuals in navigating the complexities of transvaginal mesh lawsuits.

If you or a loved one has been affected, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for the transvaginal mesh lawsuit instantly.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are Common Complications Associated with Transvaginal Mesh?

    Common complications from transvaginal mesh include issues that can significantly impact the patient’s quality of life.

    These range from minor discomforts to more severe, potentially long-term health concerns.

    Understanding these potential risks is crucial for women who have undergone or are considering transvaginal mesh surgery.

  • Can Transvaginal Mesh Complications Lead to Long-Term Health Issues?

    Yes, transvaginal mesh complications can lead to long-term health issues.

    Some women experience persistent problems that require ongoing medical attention and potentially additional surgeries.

    The severity and duration of these complications can vary, affecting both physical and emotional health.

  • Is It Possible to File a Lawsuit for Transvaginal Mesh Complications?

    Yes, women who have suffered complications due to transvaginal mesh implants can file lawsuits.

    These legal actions typically involve claims that the mesh used caused significant health issues and that manufacturers failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks.

  • How Have Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Impacted the Medical Community?

    Transvaginal mesh lawsuits have significantly impacted the medical community, leading to increased scrutiny of surgical mesh products and changes in the regulatory landscape.

    These lawsuits have highlighted the need for more comprehensive testing and better patient education regarding the risks associated with these medical devices.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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