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Hernia mesh has been the source of controversy in recent years due to the severity of side effects and complications it can cause. Read more to find out if mesh has been causing trouble after surgery.

Hernia mesh goes by a variety of names, such as plugs or patches. It is oftentimes called surgical mesh as well. It is a small, woven “sheet” used in surgical procedures. It helps by providing support to tissue or organs– working as a sort of “sling” to keep the compromised site stable and in place.

Types of hernia mesh

Mesh can be made out of inorganic or organic materials, depending on the reason for its use. Biological and organic materials are meant to be absorbed by the body over time, stimulating new tissue growth intended to support the repair. Inorganic mesh is a more permanent and stable remedy.

There are some animal-derived mesh products, which are constructed out of animal tissue (such as intestine or skin). It has been sterilized and disinfected for use in the human body. This type of mesh is considered absorbable and will degrade over time.

Non-absorbable mesh is intended to stay in the body indefinitely. Medically, it is considered a permanent implant and hernia reinforcement.

As simple as hernia mesh sounds, it is actually quite dangerous. Read more to find out some of the devastating complications mesh can cause, and if a hernia mesh lawsuit is right for you.

What causes a hernia in the first place?

To understand the need for mesh, you have to understand the health conditions that may prompt the use of it in the first place. A hernia is the medical terminology for an organ or tissue that protrudes or exits from its intended place in the body. The hernia usually happens due to straining, pulling, coughing, exercise, or strain from using the toilet.

According to the FDA, the most common types of hernias are:

  • Inguinal: occurs in the inner groin
  • Femoral: occurs in the upper thigh/outer groin
  • Incisional: occurs through an incision or scar in the abdomen
  • Ventral: occurs in the general abdominal/ventral wall
  • Umbilical: occurs at the belly button
  • Hiatal: occurs inside the abdomen, along the upper stomach/diaphragm

A hernia can flare up throughout the day and is sometimes visible from outside of the skin. It may look like a reddened, bulging protrusion that increases in size when strained. The purpose of hernia mesh is to hold the protruding organ or tissue back in its original place; thus eliminating the strain.

Hernia symptoms

Symptoms of a hernia vary depending on the severity, but remember that only a doctor can diagnose.

The symptoms of a hernia include pain that intensifies with movement, bulging red or purple protrusion, inability to have a BM or pass gas, nausea and/or vomiting, of fever. A health care provider is usually detected by an ultrasound or a CT scan, and sometimes an x-ray is needed if there is blockage in the bowel.

Some people have certain medical or health conditions that make it easier for a hernia to occur. There are also activities that increase the likelihood of getting a hernia. Such problems include:

  • Increased pressure in the abdominal area
  • A pre-existing weak spot in the abdominal wall
  • Straining during bowel movements or urination
  • Strenuous activity such as exercise or lifting weights
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic coughing or sneezing
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Smoking
  • Overexertion
  • Poor nutrition
  • Fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
  • Undescended testicles
  • Overweight
  • A combination of any of the above

Hernia Mesh Complications and Symptoms

It’s important to understand the anatomical context of a hernia to better understand the risk of hernia mesh and its associated complications. Though you can take preventative measures to stop a hernia from happening, surgery is really the only remedy to permanently fix a hernia. But what happens if the device used in surgery is unreliable?

The FDA has long been concerned about the effectiveness and safety of hernia mesh. According to the agency, “Pain, infection, recurrence, adhesion, obstruction, and perforation are the most common complications associated with recalled mesh.”

Furthermore, the most common adverse events reported to the FDA which have prompted recalls of certain mesh were due to bowel perforation and obstructions complications.

There are more complications (outlined below) and conditions that may occur after surgery that involves mesh.

  • Localized or general pain
  • Infections
  • Abscesses
  • Scar-like tissue that sticks tissues together (adhesion)
  • Blockage of the intestines
  • Abnormal connection between organs
  • Organ perforation
  • Allergic reaction
  • Body rejection
  • Mesh migration or erosion
  • Mesh shrinkage (contraction)
  • Fluid build-up at the surgical site (seroma)

Many people who have experienced the devastating and painful complications from hernia mesh have had to undergo follow-up surgery to repair or remove the mesh. Sometimes the mesh has become so engrained in the surrounding tissue, that the process of removing the mesh is even more painful than the hernia before.

Hernia mesh removal surgery can be the cause of many problems, some of them include sexual dysfunction in both men and women. This may result in a lack of arousal, issues with pregnancy, pain during intercourse, lack of sexual desire, inability to maintain an erection and/or orgasm. 

One of the side effects of defective hernia mesh is organ perforation and damage. Depending on the severity of the situation, some organs may even have to be removed during the mesh removal surgery. That’s because the mesh adheres itself to the tissue lining the hernia repair site. 

There is also a risk that comes after hernia repair surgery: painkillers. Many doctors prescribe their patient’s medications such as Oxycontin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone), Fentanyl, Carfentanil, Morphine, and others. While this seems like an easy way to control the pain, opioid painkillers are also a nationwide epidemic, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control. These drugs are addictive and dangerous, and many doctors have overprescribed these medications to their patients. 

Contact a Lawyer Handling Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

The pain from hernia mesh failure is debilitating and can severely alter your quality of life. If you or somebody you know has suffered from hernia mesh complications, you should contact a lawyer handling hernia mesh lawsuits.