At a glance: Mesh rectopexy surgery is a way of treating rectal prolapse. Historically, mesh was thought to be a very good and successful alternative to other types of repair. However, recently, a number of patients have complained of significant pain from the mesh. This may be because the mesh was not put in correctly or because it has moved (migrated) from where it was originally placed. In some cases, less intrusive types of repair should have been explored and offered prior to consideration of rectopexy. Some patients were not informed of the risks from the surgery either. Unfortunately, the damage can be life-changing and irreversible to the patient. If you have suffered from rectopexy complications it is important to get legal advice from specialist solicitors who understand the unique nature of rectopexy claims.
A number of patients have had bad outcomes after mesh rectopexy surgery which is a way of treating rectal prolapse.
What is rectal prolapse?
The rectum is the lowest part of the large intestine. When it becomes loose within the body, it can telescope through the anus. It is most likely to happen when straining, however, it can happen during other activities such as walking. Prolapse can be uncomfortable. It can also be embarrassing. Some people find their quality of life restricted too.
How common is rectal prolapse?
The condition of rectal prolapse is not common. It affects less than 3 in every 100,000 people. Most are adults, and it affects women more than men. Most women with the condition are over 60, but men with the condition tend to be younger, on average around 40 years old.
Treating rectal prolapse with mesh rectopexy surgery
Many people do not need treatment. However, where treatment is needed, it can require surgery. There are various types of operations possible. Some involve a procedure going through the abdomen and some through the anus, and one recent type of operation is mesh rectopexy.
The aim of surgery is to put the rectum back into its normal position by moving it away from the back wall of the vagina (in women) or prostate (in men).
Mesh rectopexy is keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) for external rectal prolapse and was first carried out in 2004. The surgeon makes several small incisions, insert tools and a camera.
Mesh rectopexy is also performed for women with a rectocele (bowel bulging into the vagina). In this case, mesh is stitched to both the front of the rectum and attached to a bone at the bottom of the spine (the sacrum).
All surgery has risks. However, the advantage of keyhole surgery is that, because the incisions are small, recovery times are quick. There is less risk of bleeding and infection than with open surgery.
Poor outcomes from rectopexy
Historically, mesh was thought to be a very good and successful alternative to other types of repair. However, recently, a number of patients have complained of significant pain from the mesh. This may be because the mesh was not put in correctly or because it has moved (migrated) from where it was originally placed.
Poor outcomes may not have been foreseeable when mesh rectopexy was first carried out in 2004. However, by 2014 there was evidence that a number of patients were suffering pain.
A rectal mesh implant is made of polypropylene, a type of plastic, which is one of the options available to strengthen damaged or weakened muscle or tissue. It is usually placed under the urethra or rectum to act as a sling through ventral mesh rectopexy.
Men, women and children receive rectal implants for health issues such as hernias and incontinence.
Complications caused by rectal implants include:-
- Chronic pain, especially in the abdomen and pelvic areas
- Difficulty or inability to walk
- Bladder perforation
- Bladder infection
- Bowel and nerve trauma
- Incontinence; and
- Mesh erosion or protrusion.
Concerns about patients who have undergone rectopexy
Mesh implants have been widely used across the UK and Ireland for many years, however, there have been extensive reports of numerous rectopexy complications such as debilitating pain, bleeding and difficulty walking, following these operations.
There are concerns that little or no information about the possible complications from undergoing a ventral mesh rectopexy has been provided to those treated and, in some cases, the information originally provided has been incorrect.
There are also fears that many procedures have been performed by inadequately trained surgeons.
Complaints have been made that surgeons have failed to investigate less intrusive procedures before proceeding with mesh rectopexy. For instance, nearly half of patients who had an artificial mesh surgically implanted into their pelvic floor at a Bristol hospital should have been offered an alternative treatment, North Bristol NHS Trust has revealed.
Sometimes patients were not advised of the risk concerning significant pain post treatment.
Patients who have had a mesh rectopexy removal have also experienced problems as well.
Unfortunately, the damage can be life-changing and irreversible to the patient. If you have suffered from rectopexy complications it is important to get legal advice from specialist solicitors who understand the unique nature of rectopexy claims and check if you have a negligence claim.
We have over 50 years expert legal experience advising such patients.