Vaginal Mesh Surgery May Lead to Mesh Erosion, FDA Announces
Of the many adverse events reported by women injured by vaginal mesh devices, the most common problem has been mesh erosion, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its public health advisory. This serious problem represents over a third of all complications reported by women who were injured after being inserted with pelvic mesh for the repair of their pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The pain and suffering experienced by patients due to this complication have triggered legal actions such as the Avaulta vaginal mesh lawsuits.
Also called mesh exposure or mesh protrusion, mesh erosion may be experienced by women who may have been implanted with mesh grafts for the repair of POP or the bladder slings used for treating SUI. When the mesh gradually moves away from the area where it was implanted into surrounding organs, mesh erosion is said to have occurred. Adverse effects may manifest a few days after the procedure or even years later.
Serious damage to other organs such as the bladder and urethra causing severe pain and chronic infections may result when the mesh erosion occurs. Debilitating and unbearable, making any type of movement very difficult, have been the description of many women of this pain.
The TVT-MUM (Messed-Up-Mesh), a support group in the United Kingdom, has summarized the various symptoms of mesh erosion in its website. These would include bleeding, constant infections, slimy vaginal discharge, internal or external abscess, and itching. Most sufferers describe a dragging feeling as if a large tampon is stuck in their pelvic area. These women have likened the abrasive feeling to having their vaginal parts in contact with a cheese grater.
It may also become very difficult to walk and sit and there is that general feeling of being uncomfortable. These women have also reported that their relations with their spouses have been affected since sexual intercourse may prove to be very painful.
Mainly due to mesh erosion, transvaginal mesh surgery has become very risky for a treatment to a disorder which may actually be non-life threatening. Critical damage to other organs such as the bladder, bowels, and even blood vessels in the pelvis has been reported due to this complication. This problem may also cause a new case of POP or SUI or a relapse of the original condition.
A bigger problem mesh erosion may bring about is the possibility of the patient requiring mesh excision or the removal of the mesh. Aside from being difficult to perform, multiple surgeries may be required without a guarantee that the mesh may be completely removed. This was what Christine Scott, who was successful in her Avaulta vaginal mesh lawsuit against C.R. Bard, experienced in her struggle with these surgical implants.