At a glance
Vaginal mesh procedures to treat incontinence were suspended in the UK recently. The surgery, which was often considered a quick fix, has negatively impacted the lives of 3% of the women who underwent the procedure. Complications post vaginal mesh surgery can ensue. If you have suffered such complications it is important to obtain medical and legal advice.
Vaginal Mesh Complications
There are two main types of mesh used in vaginal mesh surgery, these being transobtuator and transvaginal tape. Mesh is a term used to describe different types of manufactured biological or synthetic implantable devices in a medical context.
Vaginal mesh has been effective for many patients, however, it has had debilitating complications for some.
In July 2018, as part of an independent safety review in the UK, vaginal mesh procedures to treat incontinence were suspended. The surgery, which was often considered a quick fix, has negatively impacted the lives of 3% of the women who underwent the procedure.
Vaginal mesh complications include:-
- Unusual bleeding or discharge;
- Pelvic/lower abdomen pain or swelling;
- Chronic infections;
- Recurring urinary tract infections;
- Pain during intercourse;
- New or worsening bladder/bowel symptoms; and
- Pain in the vagina.
What can go wrong with a vaginal mesh procedure?
The most common consequences include mesh extrusion, mesh erosion and mesh exposure.
Mesh extrusion means that the mesh protrudes through the skin and tissues of the vaginal wall and becomes exposed. This results in vaginal bleeding, discharge and severe pain can occur. Many patients also suffer with pain during intercourse.
Mesh erosion means that the mesh erodes into the vaginal tissue or surrounding organs causing injuries such as vaginal or bladder perforation. This can be excruciatingly painful for a patient and may also cause recurrent infections including urinary tract infections.
Mesh extrusion and mesh erosion often warrant further surgery. Such surgery usually involves the removal of part or all of the mesh, which can be a very difficult procedure. Further surgery may also be necessary to treat erosion or vaginal mesh adhesions.
Chronic pain is very often linked to vaginal mesh surgery and even with mesh removal surgery chronic pain can be common.
The above complications may not occur for some time and can even take years to become apparent after the initial vaginal mesh surgery.
Such complications, set out above, can be the result of surgery even where there has been no negligence.
Types of Vaginal Mesh Negligence
Sometimes the vaginal mesh should never have been inserted in the first place and the patient may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. If for example, a patient only had relatively minor symptoms of a prolapse of stress incontinence which were not overly troublesome. Furthermore, if tests were not performed before the surgery to determine the extent of the prolapse and/or incontinence, or if conservative management such as a pessary or supervised pelvic floor exercises were not offered beforehand the patient may be entitled to make a personal injuries claim.
The vaginal mesh surgery itself may have been performed in a substandard manner. For example, the mesh may have been inserted in the wrong place. It is common that the incorrect positioning of the mesh is not identified until complications arise and scan is performed.
Furthermore, it is common that vaginal mesh patients were not warned of the risks associated with the vaginal mesh procedure. Patients should at least be advised of vaginal mesh erosion, extrusion, pain during intercourse, chronic pain and the potential need for mesh removal surgery. It is not unheard of that a vaginal mesh be inserted during another gynaecological surgery without prior consent.
If you have suffered complications after a vaginal mesh surgery, it is important to get legal advice from specialist solicitors who understand the unique nature of medical negligence claims.
We have over 50 years expert legal experience advising such patients.
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