Doctors say surgical mesh can be an effective treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI). However, many women have been discouraged from using the device because of the complications they caused to pelvic organ prolapse (POP) patients. Surgical mesh can treat both, but thousands of women with POP complained of serious health problems caused by mesh implants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also warned consumers about the risks associated with mesh to treat POP, saying patients and doctors should discuss and possibly explore other options for treating SUI.
Specifically, from January 2008 t0 the end of 2010, the FDA said it received 1,503 reports of mesh device complications.
Some Still Think Mesh Safe for Treating SUI Patients
Despite federal regulatory wariness the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the American Urogynecologic Society has said mesh devices can cure thousands of women suffering from stress urinary incontinence. Dr. Charles Nager, president of the AUS, said mesh slings are major technological advance in treating SUI.
“This procedure has improved the lives of millions of women worldwide,” said Nager, according to the Union-Tribune.
Stress urinary incontinence causes urine leakage typically during physical activity or by coughing, sneezing or laughing. This occurs because pelvic muscles that support the bladder are weakened or working incorrectly. Women may experience SUI after giving birth or having surgery in the pelvic area.
Surgical mesh sling procedures place a device into a woman to support the bladder and treat urine leakage. Mesh is effective in treating SUI, which prompted doctors to try to use it to treat POP as well. Using mesh for POP patients was not as successful as it had been for stress urinary incontinence patients, the Union-Tribune reported. And quickly, many POP patients were reporting serious complications from the mesh implants, which discouraged future patients from trying the treatment method.
Reports of Complications
Doctors say transvaginal mesh can still be helpful for treating SUI. But thousands of other patients reported pain, discomfort and other complications similar to what POP patients experienced. The FDA reportedly received 1,371 reports of complications from women using mesh for their SUI between 2008 and 2010. This number is only slightly less than the more than 1,500 reports from POP patients, showing that surgical mesh can be dangerous for all patients using the device.
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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.