Hernia Mesh Injuries
Millions of hernia repair surgeries are performed in the United States every year. Over the past few decades, it’s becoming increasingly common for surgeons to use hernia mesh implants during these procedures. Hernia mesh is intended to reduce recovery time and prevent hernias from recurring.
Unfortunately, many hernia repair patients report adverse health events after receiving a hernia mesh device. Studies reveal that mesh implants are defective and failing at alarming rates. As a result, patients are suffering from painful and debilitating injuries.
Causes of Hernia Mesh Complications and Injuries
Every year, thousands of hernia patients suffer avoidable injuries because of defective hernia mesh devices. Studies have revealed that several popular hernia mesh patches migrate, shift, erode, and shrink after implantation. These complications lead to internal injuries that put hernia repair patients at risk.
Hernia mesh should remain precisely where it is implanted by a surgeon. Migration occurs when mesh moves to another location in the body. This can happen if (a) the mesh does not adhere to a patient’s tissue or (b) a patient has an inflammatory reaction to the device.
Surgeons take care to position hernias at the center of a surgical mesh patch. This allows the device to adhere to surrounding tissue and the abdominal wall without affecting the hernia. Some hernia mesh implants have been known to shift, or move off-center, after surgery. This can allow the hernia to recur and force patients to undergo revision surgery.
Mesh patches are intended to be a permanent implant in a hernia patient’s body. However, many devices are designed using materials – including controversial polypropylene – that erode over time. Erosion can lead to severe complications and require patients to undergo additional surgeries to remove and replace the defective device.
Hernia mesh implants have been known to shrink in the body after surgery. Shrinkage can cause excruciating pain, damage internal tissue and organs, and force revision procedures.
Hernia mesh is often designed with two distinct sides. The outside is intended to adhere to the patient’s abdomen so the device remains rigid. The inside is intended to be slippery so that it can remain flexible and pliable. Adhesion occurs when mesh adheres to scar tissue inside the body. This can cause muscle, tissue, and organs to stick together.
Commonly Reported Hernia Mesh Injuries
Hernia mesh injuries are not uncommon. Many injuries result in chronic pain and force patients to undergo avoidable and unnecessary surgical procedures. In some cases, hernia mesh injuries can be fatal.
A fistula is an abnormal connection between two parts of the body. In hernia mesh patients, it’s not uncommon for organs to adhere to the intestinal tract. This abnormal connection damages the intestines and can cause waste to leak into the body and bloodstream.
Symptoms of a mesh-related fistula include:
- Painful bowel movements
- Bloody stool
- Lower abdominal pain
- Red and swollen skin, and
- Bulging veins.
Mesh devices can generate a significant amount of scar tissue in the body. Scar tissue can promote dangerous mesh adhesion. In some cases, this adhesion can create partial or complete blockages in the large and small intestines.
Bowel obstructions are particularly dangerous. The obstruction can reduce or limit blood flow the organ, which, in turn, causes tissue death. Obstructions can also cause the intestines to leak into the bloodstream, which can lead to life-threatening infections.
Symptoms of intestinal obstruction include:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Infection, and
Hernia mesh patches can migrate and shift in the body. This can irritate the tissue and organs near the site of surgery. Constant abrasion can lead to perforations or puncture wounds. Organs most susceptible to hernia mesh perforation include the intestines, colon, and bladder.
Symptoms of organ perforation include:
- Low blood pressure
- Internal bleeding, and
- Abdominal pain.
Infection is one of the most commonly reported injuries involving defective hernia mesh devices. Studies have shown that between 1 and 8 percent of all hernia repair patients will suffer a mesh-related infection.
Infections occur for a variety of reasons, but often develop after mesh devices erode or migrate in the body. Patients develop an inflammatory response to the device, which then results in an infection. Infection can lead to other hernia injuries, including perforation and fistulas.
Symptoms of mesh-related infections include:
- Swelling, pain, or redness at the site of surgery
- Pus and drainage
- Pneumonia, and
Hernia repair surgeries are supposed to be a permanent solution. There should be a very low chance that a patient’s hernia returns or continues to be problematic. Unfortunately, poorly designed hernia mesh devices often lead to hernia recurrence. Hernias can protrude and require additional attention when mesh implants shrink, shift, migrate, or erode. Infections can also contribute to recurrent hernias.
Symptoms of hernia recurrence include:
- Protrusion at the site of surgery
- Pain and swelling
- Low blood supply in intestines
- Infection, and
Internal bleeding is a common and dangerous complication associated with hernia mesh device failure. Bleeding can occur when mesh implants perforate internal organs, adhere to tissue near the site of the hernia, or migrate to a different part of the body.
Bleeding can develop gradually over time or occur rapidly. If not treated right away, internal bleeding can be life-threatening. Patients can suffer from shock, tissue death, and loss of consciousness.
Symptoms of internal bleeding include:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Pain in the chest or shoulders
- Changes in vision
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Nausea, and
Seroma is a build-up of fluid under the skin at the site of surgery. The injury is often identified when patients notice a clear or bloody discharge coming from their surgical incision. Seromas in hernia patients are vulnerable to infection. Infections can cause seromas to develop into skin abscesses, which require immediate medical attention. Seroma infections can also spread to the bloodstream and put patients at risk of developing sepsis.
Symptoms of seroma include:
- Changes in blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Discharge from the site of surgery
- Chills, and
- Mental cloudiness or confusion.
Chronic pain is diagnosed when a patient experiences pain for more than 12 weeks. In many cases, chronic pain lasts for months, years, or for the duration of a hernia patient’s life. One-third of all hernia mesh recipients experience chronic pain after surgery. Chronic pain, which can include dull or sharp pains, aches, and discomfort, is a complication of other hernia mesh-related injuries.
When a hernia mesh implant fails, patients are often forced to undergo a second surgical procedure to remove and replace the defective device. This is known as revision surgery. All surgical procedures carry risks. Requiring hernia patients to undergo more than one surgery increases the likelihood that they will develop an infection or suffer complications.
See your doctor right away if you begin to develop any unusual side effects or complications after receiving a hernia mesh implant. Your device may be defective. Prompt medical attention will help to limit the extent of your injuries. The medical report generated by your visit will be a vital piece of evidence if you decide to file a hernia mesh injury lawsuit.
Which Hernia Mesh Implants Cause Injuries?
Several hernia mesh implants have been linked to adverse health events. These include, but are not limited to:
- Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh
- Ethicon Proceed Mesh
- Atrium C-Qur Mesh
- Atrium ProLite Mesh
- Medtronic Versatex Monofilament Mesh
- Bard 3DMax Mesh
- Bard PerFix Plug
- Bard Composix Mesh, and
- Covidien Parietex Mesh.
The FDA has issued recalls for several of these defective hernia mesh products. However, companies continue to design and market dangerous mesh devices.
Have You Been Injured Because of Your Hernia Mesh Implant?
Medical device manufacturers have an obligation to make sure that their products are safe. You have the right to know if a medical device implanted into your body is linked to any health risks or complications. When hernia mesh companies fail to disclose known health risks, they deprive you of this important right.
Have you developed complications or health issues after receiving a hernia mesh implant? If so, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Contact Rosen Injury Lawyers to learn about your legal rights and options. Our experienced hernia mesh injury lawyers can help you fight for the money you and your family deserve. Call our law firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more.