Hernia Mesh Patches - Are They Safe?
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against hernia mesh manufacturers over links to serious and life-threatening complications.
What are hernia mesh patches?
As you may know, hernia mesh patches are used to strengthen muscles or tissue that is weak or torn. Most commonly used in suturing the muscular abdominal wall, the patches are supposed to help the abdomen heal quicker and avoid any reoccurrences. Mesh patches for hernias were first approved in 1990 by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and have been implanted into patients over a million times.
Since their approval, several companies have competed to be the top hernia mesh on the market. One reason for the vast amount of mesh patches on the market is due to the FDA’s decision to allow hernia mesh manufacturers to use the 510(K)-clearance process, fast-tracking the product to market. The first hernia mesh was recalled in 2005 by Davol Inc., a subsidiary of C.R. Bard, a recall that was extended through 2007. Then in 2014, The FDA recalled several different makes of hernia mesh patches from Bard, Ethicon Inc. and Atrium Medical Corporation.
These recalls have coincided with numerous injuries and complications that have been reported from patients. A range of symptoms have been found in the patients:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Fever and other flu-like symptoms
- Excessive pain
- Difficulty urinating or passing gas and stool
- Increased redness around incision or excess drainage
Unfortunately, these complications are far too common. A 2016 study on hernia mesh patches found that of the 3,242 participants in the study, 1,050 were required to have another surgery.[i] Tracking the progression of their recovery, they found that the number of complications increased if followed over the course of five years. The study found that;
“the long-term complications related to mesh placement are not known…Although mesh reduces recurrences, it is a foreign material and may cause a host of complications. These range from mild skin problems such as skin infections, nonhealing wounds, and seroma formation to severe chronic pain, life-threatening bowel obstruction, and chronic fistula development that may be caused by chronic mesh infection.”[ii]
Numerous lawsuits filed
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Bard and Ethicon in the past few years. One lawsuit came from a Florida woman, Joann Quinn, who suffered bowel and abdominal adhesions that required further surgery. Even after the additional surgery, the doctors were unable to successfully remove all of the adhesions and noted that Quinn may continue to suffer pain and complications for the rest of her life.[iii]
A number of other lawsuits are still actively seeking compensation for the loss suffered by complications linked to these mesh patches. Recently, a multi-district litigation (MDL) has gotten underway that has gathered a pool of 2,193 plaintiffs from across the country that all had complications due to Ethicon’s Physiomesh™ Flexible Composite Mesh.
If you've suffered a severe side effect as a result of using a mesh patch, you may be entitled to compensation. Click here for a free review of your case.