Millions of women throughout the United States suffer from conditions that result from the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. This weakening can lead to several types of serious medical problems including stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Trans-vaginal mesh appeared to be a promising treatment for these conditions. Now it appears that this option actually may hurt more than it helps.
The use of trans-vaginal mesh can result in a number of complications including:
- Contraction of the mesh sling
- Erosion of the mesh into the bowel, bladder, or vagina
- Erosion of vaginal epithelium
- Excessive, ongoing vaginal discharge and drainage
- Painful intercourse
- Protrusion of the device
- Recurrence of stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse
- Serious infection
- Skin breakage
- Vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal scarring and shortening
- Vaginal shrinkage
Additionally, women can also suffer injury resulting from the placement of the mesh itself. The most common of these types of injuries are perforation of the bladder, bowel, or blood vessels. Women suffering from any of these complications often require surgical or medical intervention, and in many instances hospitalization is also required.
In a recent lawsuit against a vaginal mesh manufacturer, one Georgia woman has been awarded $2 million for the injuries the vaginal mesh caused to her internal organs, resulting in vaginal scarring, pelvic pain, and pain during intercourse. The complications of the vaginal mesh were so debilitating that she had significant negative impacts to her quality of life and the mesh had to eventually be removed. The jury in this case deliberated for around 12 hours, after a two-week trial. The plaintiff was awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages.
Between 2005 and 2007 the number of complaints related to complications to trans-vaginal mesh placement started to increase. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised doctors to exercise caution when they were performing the procedure. Additionally it was advised that doctors pass warnings on to their patients. However, despite the measures taken by the FDA, the number of complaints was still rising. Over the past three years there have been thousands of complaints made and the FDA has issued a safety warning.
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