Hernia Mesh Issues: What You Need to Know
Anyone who has ever suffered from a hernia already knows how painful one can be. Like any other surgery, the goal of repair is to rectify the situation. One problem. As it turns out, hernia mesh implants are making things worse. Unfortunately, it’s something that you might know too well as a victim.
Hernias can occur for a variety of reasons, which includes heavy lifting or even something as simple as repeated coughing or sneezing. Ultimately, the pressure causes a bulge to protrude through muscle or tissue. A hernia can’t be fixed without surgical repair, and the hernia mesh is intended to create a wall to stop any further protrusion.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), as part of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), breaks down the six most common types of hernias as follows:
- Inguinal hernias: Most common among men in the groin area, above the inguinal ligament.
- Femoral hernias: More frequent among women below the inguinal ligament.
- Incisional hernias: Generally associated with abdominal surgical incisions.
- Umbilical hernias: Most frequently occurs to children and obese individuals, near the belly button.
- Epigastric hernias: Tissue pokes through the abdominal wall between the breastbone and the belly button.
- Diaphragmatic hernias: Associated with a widening of the diaphragm and sometimes referred to as a hiatal hernia.
Hernia Mesh Issues
“As far as surgical repair, hernia meshes are medical devices designed to act as a reinforcement to the weak or damaged tissue,” shared Jersey City attorney Anthony Carbone. “However, the FDA has recalled several mesh products because of the problems they’re causing people who thought their hernia was repaired.”
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) actually has a database dedicated to medical device recalls, which includes hernia mesh products. While some are made of animal tissue, a great many are comprised of synthetic materials.
“It’s actually quite a frightening statistic,” continued Carbone. “Over one-third of surgical repairs are causing complications that can become pretty serious.”
What may start out as pain and discomfort may represent bowel obstruction and more. And, just because products faced more recent recalls doesn’t mean patients are safe. Problems can start even years after the hernia mesh implant.
When a hernia mesh implant fails, a fistula could form. If there’s an infection involved, the only signs might initially appear to be a fever or chills. The list of complications could mean the hernia reappears or that abdominal pain becomes unbearable. Mesh erosion, shrinkage, and displacement represent serious issues.
“Of course, no one knows if the surgeon used a recalled mesh implant when making a hernia repair,” Carbone said. “However, records are kept that identify the product. It’s information that can be accessed during the litigation process.”