About 3.3 million women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) undergo over 300,000 POP surgeries annually. Millions of women also have stress urinary incontinence (SUI). These conditions occur due hysterectomy, menopause, or birthing several children. POP happens when a woman’s pelvic muscles weaken, causing organs (bladder, rectum, uterus) to sink down into the vagina. That’s why most women with POP also experience SUI. Increased pressure on these organs—i.e., when jogging or sitting down—causes pain and incontinence, making women’s day-to-day lives very difficult. The solution for many is TVM, sometimes called “pelvic mesh.” Typically, it’s made from plastic called polypropylene. This mesh can be surgically placed via the vagina or through abdominal incisions. Vaginal insertion is common, since it’s quicker and less invasive. Here’s a list of risks and benefits to explain why they’re used, and why some women are filing pelvic mesh claims.
Benefits of Pelvic Mesh Implants:
- Proper transvaginal mesh insertion can improve many women’s quality of life, allowing for a more active lifestyle, less anxiety about incontinence, and more freedom.
- Transvaginal mesh reduces risk of subsequent organ prolapse compared to traditional stabilization techniques, such as using the patient’s own tissue.
- The pain from pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence is either relieved or eliminated.
- Constipation issues are relieved.
- Sexual intercourse is less painful after surgery.
Risks of Pelvic Mesh Implants:
- Risk of side effects is high, including tissue erosion, organ perforation, and extreme pain
- Many women have needed the implant removed, which requires multiple surgeries and is often not 100% successful.
- Because of vaginal mesh’s current Class II medical device classification, studies weren’t required and long-term risks haven’t been evaluated.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering reclassifying to a Class III device.
- Long-term risks are definitely possible. Transvaginal mesh implant complications are under reported.
- More women may have experienced negative reactions than have reported it.
- In some cases, women may need several surgical procedures to repair mesh implant damage.
- Pain during sexual intercourse may be heightened because erosion of the mesh can scar the vagina and lead to further pain and discomfort.
Treating Pelvic Mesh Erosion Complications
According to the University of Colorado Urogynecology, device removal or estrogen cream can treat mesh erosion, depending on its severity. OBG Management says that sometimes, localized estrogen use can alleviate erosion pain. Doctors suggest using one gram nightly for two weeks or one gram for two or three nights per week. More serious erosion cases require surgical mesh excision in addition to estrogen cream, OBG Management noted. In fact, estrogen use prior to surgery improves localized blood flow, thus reducing additional complication risks. Antimicrobial therapy also treats erosion symptoms and helps prevent additional problems, said OBG Management.
Nearly 70,000 Pelvic Mesh Claims Filed To Date
The FDA warned consumers about serious complications associated with pelvic mesh. Nearly 70,000 women with pelvic mesh injuries filed lawsuits against device manufacturers in the Southern District of West Virginia. Even more pelvic mesh claims are pending in state courts nationwide.
If you or a loved one has been injured by transvaginal/pelvic mesh implants and have suffered side effects such as severe pelvic or groin pain, infection, recurrence of prolapse or incontinence or increased scarring of the vagina, you may be entitled to financial compensation.