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What complications are associated with transvaginal mesh?

If you are a Louisiana woman who has undergone surgery to correct pelvic organ prolapse, it is possible that your surgeon implanted transvaginal mesh into your body to help suspend some of your tissues. Women's Health advises that in the past, surgeons used native body tissue and absorbable sutures to repair pelvic organ prolapse, but since this procedure had an approximate 30 percent failure rate, they started using transvaginal mesh instead.

Pelvic organ prolapse is a medical condition wherein your uterus, bladder and/or rectum begins to descend from your vagina. It can happen at any age and you are at risk for it if you are overweight, have had one or more vaginal deliveries and/or are genetically predisposed to it. The treatment is surgery, with your surgeon usually implanting transvaginal mesh, a small net, to hold up your organs and prevent their further descent. In addition to pelvic organ prolapse, transvaginal mesh also is often used to repair hernias and to treat incontinence.

Possible complications

Transvaginal mesh has come under a great deal of scrutiny in recent years because it can cause women a lot of problems, including the following, after its implant:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Eventual mesh movement through the vaginal wall and into other organs

FDA warnings

At the time transvaginal mesh first became available to physicians around the year 2000, its manufacturers marketed it as a safe, durable product that produced higher surgical success rates and faster recoveries by patients. Subsequent research, however, showed that it had not been sufficiently tested for long-term outcomes.

The FDA issued its first warning about transvaginal mesh in 2008, followed by a subsequent warning in 2011. In 2014, the FDA reclassified its usage in pelvic organ prolapse from moderate to high risk. Nationwide, thousands of women who had this mesh implanted into their bodies and suffered serious complications from it have filed lawsuits against their doctors and the product's manufacturers. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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