Study looks at effectiveness and dangers of transvaginal mesh devices

A recent study reveals that transvaginal mesh implants pose a high risk of complications to female patients.

A transvaginal mesh is a medical device that is used in treating certain conditions women in California have. One condition is pelvic organ prolapse, which occurs when organs from the pelvic area drop down to a lower position and push against the walls of the vagina. The other condition is stress urinary incontinence, which is an abnormal leakage of urine when pressure is exerted on the bladder, for example by coughing or sneezing.

The mesh can be made of biological material, absorbable synthetic components, non-absorbable synthetic, or any combination of these three types, in which case it is considered a composite mesh. Transvaginal mesh surgeries can often result in harm to patients due to the risk of complications, and a recent study has examined the likelihood of such complications, as well as the usefulness of these devices.

Complications arising from use

The Indian Journal of Urology recently conducted a study that reviewed several years’ worth of articles and medical literature that addressed complications with transvaginal mesh implants. They came up with the following list:

  • Mesh infection: In up to 8 percent of transvaginal mesh implants, infections can occur wherein different kinds of harmful bacteria grow around the site of implantation. These infections can cause bleeding and pain in the pelvis, and as long as five years after surgery, they can even lead to thigh abscesses. It was noted that the presence of an acute infection seems to correlate with¬†implants degrading.
  • Mesh erosion: This type of complication can result in an abnormal opening into an organ, known as perforation, as well as exposure or extrusion, in which cases a mesh can pass out into the vaginal cavity and may become visible. If a mesh has extruded into the urethra or bladder, urinary tract infection, painful voiding, and urinary fistula or calculi may take place. Erosion can cause bleeding and vaginal pain. This complication occurs in up to 33 percent of implants.
  • Mesh retraction: Mesh shrinkage can cause many different degrees of pain and tenderness, and can also lead to stiffness of the vaginal walls. A mesh may shrink up to 40 percent in size after it has been implanted.

In all of the above cases, dyspareunia, or painful sexual intercourse, can be a symptom. The most recent statistic indicates this condition in up to 6.2 percent of those who received transvaginal mesh implants.

Overview of safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in coordination with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, recently provided an update on the safety and effectiveness of the use of transvaginal mesh devices. They found that there is no conclusive evidence that transvaginal meshes are more effective in treating pelvic organ prolapse than traditional methods that do not use meshes. They also determined that it is not rare for serious adverse events to occur after implantation.

Transvaginal mesh devices are often more harmful than helpful. The additional medical costs, and the pain and suffering caused by such ineffective products can be substantial. People in Northern California who have had to deal with these issues have a right to pursue financial compensation. Therefore, they should seek the counsel of an attorney who is experienced with product liability cases.