Over one million people undergo a hernia repair procedure in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A hernia is generally caused by a combination of pressure (or straining) and an opening (or weakness) of muscle or connective tissue. That pressure pushes an organ or tissue through the opening, causing the hernia.
Lifting heavy objects is generally associated with a hernia, but other causes include obesity, diarrhea or constipation, and persistent coughing or sneezing. Some people are more susceptible to hernias than others from muscle weakness being present at birth. However, it usually becomes more of an issue as we age. Poor nutrition, smoking, and overexertion are cited as additional risk factors.
Hernias do not heal themselves, but sometimes a surgeon will wait to see if the hernia causes a problem for the patient as some are harmless. If a surgeon determines that a hernia needs to be repaired, it can be done in one of two ways:
- Laparoscopic: Several small incisions are made in the abdomen that allows surgical tools into the opening to repair the hernia.
- Open Repair: The incision is made near the hernia and the weak muscle area is repaired.
When is Surgical Mesh Used?
Both methods can be done with or without surgical mesh. Hernias have a tendency to recur, so the mesh is designed to strengthen the repair and reduce the risk of it happening again.
Most mesh devices used today are made from animal tissue or synthetic material. Mesh from animal tissue (biologic mesh) will gradually be absorbed by the body, while the synthetic mesh is considered a permanent implant.
According to one study in England, surgeons believe the complication rate for hernia procedures with surgical mesh is between 12 and 30 percent.
Symptoms of complications with a hernia repair using mesh include pain, infection, hernia recurrence, adhesion, and bowel obstruction. Some people have so much pain that they have trouble standing or bending over. Many products that have already been recalled by the FDA caused bowel perforation and obstruction complications.
Given the high rate of complications, the FDA has recalled several surgical mesh devices over the past several years. Despite that, people are still ending up in worse shape due to complications from surgical mesh that was used in their hernia procedure.
What Mesh Products Are Most Linked to These Complications?
Certain types of mesh products are causing more problems for patients than others. One is called composite mesh. This is synthetic mesh with a special coating applied. Popular brands include ST Hernia Mesh, Composix Kugel Hernia Mesh, 3DMax, PerFix Plug, Proceed Hernia Mesh, Prolene Hernia System, and ProLoop Plug. Several of these composite meshes have had issues with the FDA, but it is possible there are even more complications as many are never reported.
When used properly, the surgical mesh can be beneficial to those suffering from a hernia, but if you are having complications, you must answer several questions. You must know what kind of mesh was used, how it was applied, and if mesh should have been used in the first place.
It’s difficult to tell without deeper investigation if the pain was part of the accepted risk of surgery or if a defective product was used. To help you with these concerns, we invite you to contact the attorneys of Stewart & Stewart for a free initial consultation.
Stewart & Stewart has some of the most experienced attorneys handling defective product cases in the state of Indiana. Put our experience to work for you today by calling us at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.