The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) continues to approve hernia mesh products, even though several thousands have reported injuries and some of these products have shown to be defective. More than 100,000 hernia meshes are implanted annually in America. Unfortunately, many of the most dangerous mesh products are still available on the market are yet to be recalled by the FDA. Symptoms and injuries that are commonly caused by defective hernia meshes include bowel obstructions and severe infections. Other symptoms include pain, adhesion, perforation, and recurrence of hernias.
Hernia Mesh Complications
The cause of hernia mesh complications can vary depending on the product itself. Generally, many hernia mesh products contain a specific type of plastic known as polypropylene. While polypropylene is the same material used in most pelvic mesh and bladder strings, it is also used to make non-medical products such as soda bottles and fishing lines. This material is commonly used because it is inexpensive.
There are several instances when a mesh is required to repair a hernia to alleviate the pain an individual is enduring. Indeed, the larger the hernia, the more likely a mesh is needed to repair the injury. That being said, when considering a hernia repair surgery, there are more than 50 mesh products from which to choose from numerous manufacturers that use a wide range of materials to create their product. These alternate materials include plastics, gels and even pigskins. Moreover, some hernias are easier to repair without surgically inserting a mesh. For example, an inguinal hernia is typically smaller than other types of hernias and can be repaired by a skilled surgeon. The use of hernia meshes in these types of hernias has resulted in thousands of patients developing and suffering from disabling pain.
Types of Hernias
A hernia is a bulging of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening. Typically, a hernia involves the intestines or the stomach. There are more than 200,00 hernia cases per year. While some who have a hernia are asymptomatic the general symptoms include pain, swelling, or a bulge. Males are generally more affected by hernias than women and the most commonly ages of people who suffer from a hernia are 40 years and older.
There are several types of hernias, which are named after where the injury occurred, including:
- Umbilical: near or at the bellybutton;
- Inguinal: in the groin area;
- Incisional: occurring at an old surgical incision;
- Recurrent: happening at a previous hernia site;
- Bilateral: appearing at both the right and left sides; and
- Femoral: located high in the thigh area.
There are several alternatives to hernia mesh when repairing a hernia for an individual suffering from this condition. These include shouldice repair, McVay repair, Bassini repair and desarda repair. Shouldice repair involves a surgeon performing only a two-layer suture using the patient’s fascia and tendon. A fascia is a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ. A McVay repair, on the other hand, requires the abdominal tendons be sutured (or sewn) to the inguinal ligament. A Bassini repair involves a suture of the inguinal hernia preserving the spermatic cord. Finally, a desarda repair is a suture only repair, using numerous layers of fascia.
Before hernia meshes were used to repair hernias, surgeons typically used the shouldice technique on patients. This hernia reparation technique can trace its roots back to the Shouldice Hospital in Ontario, Canada. The technique is still highly favored today at this hospital. Part of the reason is that the shouldice technique has maintained a 99.5 percent success rate on primary inguinal hernia repairs for the past 70 years. It is not uncommon for a shouldice repair to be performed with local anesthetics, sutures, pain medication and a sedative.
When a Mesh is Not Necessary
As discussed above, not all hernia injuries require surgical mesh implantation. Moreover, there are some instances when a mesh should not be used at all. For example, smaller hernias such as those caused by laparoscopic surgery generally do not require mesh to repair. In fact, these smaller hernia injuries can often be fixed with sutures performed by an experienced surgeon. One of the issues with hernias is that they are difficult to fix permanently – there is a high rate of hernia recurrence both for those who have undergone suture or mesh repairs. The difference between the two is that when sutures fail and the hernia returns, a surgeon can merely attempt to re-stitch the hernia. When a hernia mesh fails and the hernia returns, there are often more complications that come with the recurrence. This is because the hernia is often much larger after a mesh failure. Furthermore, because abdominal tissue and muscle typically adheres to the mesh these must be removed along with the mesh after a failure.
Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
Manufacturers of hernia mesh products have funded research that has shown results that the use of hernia meshes showed a lower rate of hernia recurrence than other hernia repair surgeries. These studies have turned out to be inaccurate, however, partly because the length of time during which patients were monitored after the mesh implantation was insufficient. Some victims have developed hernia mesh complications 10 to 15 years after the surgery, despite an absorbable hernia mesh supposedly being able to remain in the body indefinitely. These latent injuries that reveal symptoms so many years later are not captured by these manufacturers’ studies.
Hernia Mesh Complication Attorneys
Patients who have been forced to submit to revision surgery because of hernia mesh complications may be entitled to monetary compensation by way of a lawsuit against the product’s manufacturers. A successful personal injury hernia mesh surgery may recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. And although there have not been many settlements for hernia mesh injuries yet, similar surgical meshes (like transvaginal mesh) have resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts.
The Law Offices Of Roger Ghai has years of experience representing injured victims and will fight to obtain the monetary compensation you deserve as a result of your hernia mesh injuries. We will push for the best possible settlement for you and your loved ones. Click here today to schedule your initial case evaluation with one of our seasoned personal injury attorneys.