What Are the Specific Hernia Mesh Defects?
Hernias typically develop when pressure pushes tissue or an organ through connective tissues or torn muscle areas. This pressure can be the result of physical exertion, heavy lifting, poor nutrition, prior surgeries, constipation, severe coughing and sneezing bouts, or being overweight. Although hernias typically occur in the abdominal area, they can occur in the groin area as well. Hernias in the abdomen are known as ventral hernias, and those which occur at the belly button are known as umbilical hernias. A hiatal hernia is also in the abdomen, along the upper stomach.
A hernia repair can be done with stitches only, or through the use of synthetic or biologic materials (often polypropylene hernia mesh coated in fatty acids or some other material that is meant to act as a barrier to separate the mesh material from tissue and organs), along with stitches. Unfortunately, many types of this hernia mesh have been found to have serious side effects, once implanted. The complications from hernia mesh defects can include severe pain, organ obstruction, organ perforation, infection, fistulas, adhesions and bowel obstruction. When these, or other complications occur, it can be necessary to have a second surgery to remove the mesh.
The synthetic mesh materials can be absorbable, non-absorbable, or a combination of both. Non-absorbable mesh remains in the body indefinitely, and is considered permanent, providing reinforcement to the repaired hernia. Absorbable mesh degrades and loses strength over time and is not intended to provide long-term reinforcement to the repair site. As the absorbable material degrades, new tissue growth is intended to provide strength to the hernia repair.
Despite the fact that many manufacturers coated their hernia mesh with substances which were meant to keep the mesh from adhering to other organs or tissues, or eroding into the bowel or intestine, these coatings do not seem to have prevented these issues. There have been three hernia mesh recalls to date: Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh, Atrium’s C-QUR mesh, and Bard’s Davol Kugel Patch.
How Do These Hernia Mesh Defects Cause Hernia Mesh Complications?
Hernia mesh complications are numerous, and some are extremely serious. Some victims of hernia mesh complications can experience severe, debilitating pain, adhesions, swelling and inflammation, obstructions, migration of the mesh, bacterial infections, recurrence of the hernia, postoperative hematomas or seromas, injury to surrounding organs, a lump at the site of the incision, mesh rejection, internal bleeding and fistulas. When implanted hernia mesh becomes infected, the results can be traumatic. Antibiotics may not be sufficient to treat an infected hernia mesh, and a revision surgery may be necessary to remove the infected mesh.
Symptoms of mesh rejection include inflammation, pain, fever, vomiting, chills, nausea, and other flu-like symptoms. Inflammation and mesh rejection can cause pain and tenderness at the site of the incision and may create an intra-abdominal abscess. The mesh implant may result in scar-like tissues which adhere to one another, blockage of the large or small intestine, abnormal connection between organs, and perforation of the organs. In some cases, the mesh can shrink, causing extreme pain. These are all very serious issues, which could, potentially, cause lifelong issues or even death.
Hernia Mesh Injury Information
Some additional information regarding hernia mesh includes:
- On May 25, 2016, Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, Ethicon, recalled its flexible composite mesh, Physiomesh, issuing an Urgent Field Safety Notice which advised the medical community the product would no longer be sold in the United States due to a higher than expected rate of hernia recurrence and re-operation.
- Other companies with hernia mesh which has had problems include Atrium/Maquet, Bard/Davol and Covidien.
- For those patients who have suffered a bowel or abdominal perforation, a surgeon will have to remove the mesh, remove the damaged section of bowel, and repair the hole.
- According to Dr. Michael Castellano, director of the hernia program at Staten Island University Hospital, the incidence of pockets of clear fluid—called seromas—which develop after surgery is higher than when mesh is not used.
- There are at least five surgical methods which are viable alternatives to hernia mesh, including the Bassini Repair, the McVay/Coopers Ligament, Shouldice Repair, Desarda Repair and the Guarnieri Repair.
- Some doctors recommend watchful waiting, which is an option if the patient exhibits no signs or symptoms, however this should only be considered if a doctor “okays” it.
Could You Benefit from a Hernia Mesh Injury Lawyer?
If you were implanted with a hernia mesh which subsequently caused you serious injury and health problems—particularly if that hernia mesh is one which has been recalled—you may have a valid claim against the manufacturer of the hernia mesh. Despite the fact that there are very real hernia mesh dangers, and hernia mesh complications, the hernia mesh manufacturers have not issues any types of warnings or information to patients which would allow them to weigh the risks against the potential benefits. Patients who are implanted with hernia mesh can potentially end up with a lifetime of medical issues, many of them traumatic, requiring additional invasive surgical procedures.
An experienced hernia mesh injury lawyer from Sullo & Sullo can evaluate the facts of your hernia mesh case, then discuss your options. If you have a valid hernia mesh injury claim, you may be entitled to: medical expense reimbursement, future medical expenses, lost wages, if you were unable to work because of the injuries, future lost wages if you will not be able to return to work in the foreseeable future, pain and suffering damages, and possibly even punitive damages if it can be shown the manufacturer was aware of the dangers but failed to warn patients and doctors of the risks. Contacting a Sullo & Sullo hernia mesh injury attorney today can benefit your future and protect your rights.