A hernia occurs when intestine, fatty tissue, or an organ pokes through a weak spot or hole in the surrounding muscle or tissue.
Hernias and hernia repairs are common. More than a million hernia repairs are performed in the U.S. each year.
Hernia mesh is used in the vast majority— more than 90 percent—of those one million repairs. But some recent hernia meshes have been linked to serious and dangerous complications.
Hernia mesh refers to various materials surgeons use to patch, plug, or reinforce their closure of a hernia during surgery. Hernia mesh devices are made from synthetic materials or animal tissue.
Synthetic surgical mesh may be made from absorbable or non-absorbable materials or a combination of both. Surgical mesh made from animal tissue (usually intestines or skin) is absorbable.
Absorbable mesh degrades and loses strength over time. New tissue growth over time is expected to strengthen the repair when absorbable mesh is used.
Non-absorbable mesh remains in the body indefinitely. It is a permanent implant.
As with any surgical procedure, hernia repair surgeries have risks. There are also specific risks associated with hernia mesh surgeries. These include:
A mild infection following surgery can be treated with antibiotics. But deep, chronic infections can develop around hernia mesh—sometimes right after surgery, but not always. Chronic infections may not develop until years after the surgery was performed. Chronic mesh infections are harder to treat. They require intravenous antibiotics, and patients may require additional surgery to remove the mesh.
Mesh may become detached after surgery and travel through the body. Sometimes the migration is not immediately detected. Mesh migration can cause immediate severe pain, but it also may not cause any symptoms until it leads to related damage, such as adhesions, fistulas, or bowel perforation or obstruction.
An adhesion is a band of scar tissue or scar-like tissue that sticks tissues together. Hernia mesh adhesions occur when the hernia mesh itself is involved. Severe pain may be the only symptom.
Mesh adhesions can develop into bowel obstructions and bowel perforations, which can be life-threatening.
If hernia mesh adheres to the intestines, it can obstruct (block) the bowels. Mesh migrating to the intestines can also lead to bowel obstructions.
Bowel obstructions are dangerous and painful and require immediate treatment.
Hernia mesh can puncture or erode into the bowel causing bowel perforation (puncture). When that occurs, bacteria and fecal material can leak into the abdomen and other parts of the body or blood, which can cause peritonitis and sepsis—dangerous, sometimes life-threatening, conditions.
A seroma is a pocket of fluid that builds up under the skin. Seromas can occur after surgery. They may resolve on their own, but sometimes require draining if they are large or painful.
A fistula is an abnormal connection between two parts of the body. Fistulae may be caused by surgery or an injury. Hernia mesh migrations have also been associated with fistulae. A fistula may lead to an abscess or infection. They may require antibiotics or surgical intervention to treat.
Mesh failure occurs, as the phrase implies, when the mesh does not result in the expected benefit. The hernia recurs, so repeat surgery is necessary.
Rejection occurs when the body identifies the hernia mesh as a foreign substance, activating an immune system response. Symptoms of rejection include redness, extreme swelling, pain, and flu-like symptoms. Mesh rejection requires immediate medical attention.
Hernia mesh was originally invented and employed because hernias repaired with only sutures, which was the standard before mesh was invented, often recurred. However, certain kinds of mesh are associated with higher-than-expected hernia recurrence, which necessitates another surgery.
Severe or chronic pain may be experienced after a hernia mesh procedure. Sometimes it is an indication or a symptom that points to a serious complication or problem, including those described above.
There are some brands and kinds of hernia mesh linked to a higher incidence of problems than others.
Brands and types of mesh that have, together, generated hundreds of adverse reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are:
The complications reported about these meshes have often required more surgeries to be performed.
Reported issues related to Atrium C-QUR mesh include:
Shortly after it was approved for use, the FDA began to receive adverse reports about Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh. Many were reports of hernia recurrence and failure of the mesh. Ethicon removed Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh for laparoscopic surgeries from the market in May 2016.
Adverse events reported about Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh were:
Complications associated with these various Bard mesh brands include a high rate of additional surgeries. In addition, if you experienced any of the following specific complications following surgery that involved any of these Bard meshes, you may be entitled to compensation:
Likewise, several brands of Covidien Mesh have caused recipients much pain and suffering, often requiring additional surgeries and greatly impairing their quality of life. These issues have included abscesses, debilitating pain, and nonhealing wounds with exposed mesh. Also reported:
If you or someone you love has experienced complications following hernia surgery that involved Atrium C-QUR meshes, Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh, or the Bard or Covidien meshes mentioned above, or if you are unsure if any of those brands were involved, call us at 516-746-7000 or submit your case details online and someone will contact you shortly
You may be entitled to compensation for the added medical and care expenses, lost work, and emotional pain and suffering.
Our attorneys have years of experience and a reputation for personalized, compassionate partnering with our clients. We also have the expertise, resources, and manpower to fully investigate your circumstances in order to get you the justice you deserve.