Injuries from Hernia Repair Mesh
In order to repair a hernia, a medical condition in which an organ can push through weak abdominal tissue, doctors often use a flexible patch of mesh to reinforce the weakened area. If a medical professional uses a defective or broken mesh patch, the consequences can be serious, if not fatal, for the patient.
If you or a loved one has suffered significant health problems as a result of a hernia repair mesh failure, you may be able to take legal action. At Farah & Farah, our Jacksonville defective medical product attorneys will help you determine whether you qualify for a hernia mesh repair lawsuit and will fight to ensure that you receive fair and just compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Call 855-797-9899 to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your situation.
Hernia Repair Mesh Failure
Hernia repair mesh is a flexible mesh product used to fix hernias, a condition in which an organ sticks through a weak spot in the muscle. Although hernia repair mesh has been used since the 1950s, it has never been risk-free. When hernia repair mesh fails, serious side effects and complications – including a return of the original hernia – may result.
Types of Hernia Repair Mesh Failure
A 2005 study of hernia repair mesh failures published in the medical journal Surgical Endoscopy found that infections occurred in 42 percent of the sample group, all of whom had had mesh inserted as part of their hernia repair surgeries. Mechanical failure of the hernia patch itself occurred in 18 percent of cases. Severe pain, rejection of the implant by the body, and adhesions also occurred, though each was seen in less than 10 percent of patients.
The study also found that specific types of hernia repair mesh were associated with specific types of repair mesh failure. Mesh made of polypropylene was involved in a significant number of mechanical failures. Polytetrafluoroethylene mesh was involved in a high number of infections, while mesh made of a combination of polytetrafluoroethylene and polypropylene was responsible for the highest number of intestinal complications. The researchers concluded that the type of mesh used was a strong predictor of the specific kinds of failures a certain patient might experience.
In addition to the type of mesh, the type of hernia has an effect on the risk that a hernia repair mesh will fail. In a 2007 study published in the Annals of the Royal Medical College of England, researchers found that using repair mesh to fix hiatal hernias resulted in a 20 to 30 percent failure rate. Many of these failures caused damage to the esophagus, requiring additional surgery and often leaving patients with permanently impaired digestive systems. Based on their data, the researchers recommended avoiding the use of hernia repair mesh in hiatal hernias.
Many times, a body will reject the mesh following surgery. This is because the body thinks it’s allergic to the mesh and begins to form scar tissue around the mesh. This can lead to chronic pain at the site of the surgery. Mesh made of biological materials is more likely to be rejected by the patient’s body. Symptoms of mesh rejection include oozing, redness, swelling, back pain, fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. The mesh should be removed if rejected by the body.
Symptoms of Hernia Repair Mesh Failure
When hernia repair mesh fails, it can cause several side effects. These include the following:
- Internal bleeding
- Erosion of the tissues at the site of the repair mesh
- Recurring hernia at the site of the surgery
- A hematoma forming around the site of the surgery
- A lump forming near the site of the surgery
- The site of the surgery will feel hot and sore
- Fever, nausea, and vomiting
- Feeling bloated
- Unable to pass stools
These symptoms can be disabling, or even life-threatening. They often require blood transfusions, antibiotic treatments, or surgery to correct. It’s important to be alert for symptoms like these after a hernia repair mesh surgery and to follow up with a doctor whether or not obvious symptoms of repair mesh failure are occurring. Early identification and treatment can reduce the long-term effects of hernia repair mesh failure.
Hernia Types and Risk Factors
The most common types of hernias include the following:
- Inguinal hernia: a hernia in the groin area, including indirect inguinal hernias, which are congenital, or present at birth; and direct inguinal hernias, which develop over time
- Umbilical: a hernia in the navel area (belly button)
- Incisional: a hernia that breaks through an incision or scar
- Hiatal: a hernia in which the upper part of the stomach slips through a gap in the diaphragm and enters the chest
- Congenital diaphragmatic: a hernia that results from a birth defect.
Weak abdominal muscles are a common risk factor for hernia. Other situations that may create a hernia include these factors:
- Obesity or sudden weight gain
- Lifting heavy objects
- Severe constipation or diarrhea
- Regular coughing or sneezing
- Pregnancy or childbirth
Hernias may affect both adults and children, male and female. Smoking also increases the risk of hernias. Pain and other health problems often result from hernias. If a hernia is not repaired, the part of the organ poking through the muscle may become pinched, cutting off blood flow and resulting in a potentially deadly chance of gangrene.
Most hernias are treated with surgery to put the organs back into their proper places and repair the weak spot in the muscle. The weak spot is then strengthened by inserting stitches or hernia repair mesh in the muscle wall. Hernia repair mesh first came onto the market in the 1950s, and it has been used for many decades to repair hernias or strengthen the abdominal wall. Hernia repair mesh is usually made of metal or a plastic polymer. During surgery, the mesh is incorporated into the muscle to strengthen it over the place where the organ tissue broke through. The mesh is intended not only to repair the original hernia, but to strengthen the area to decrease the risk of the hernia occurring again in the same spot.
Hernia Repair Side Effects
The use of hernia repair mesh can result in complications. In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert for physicians and patients about the possible side effects of hernia repair mesh use. The FDA reported receiving multiple complaints about hernia repair mesh complications.
Hernia repair mesh patches are used to fix many different types of hernias. A hernia occurs when part of a bodily organ, such as the intestines or stomach, pokes through a weak spot in the wall of muscle that surrounds the organ. The specific type of hernia depends on which organs and which muscles are involved. However, any hernia can cause pain, impairment of muscle or organ function, and a serious risk of gangrene, a life-threatening condition.
Hernia repair mesh is typically made of metal or a plastic polymer. The mesh is inserted over the site of the hernia to reinforce the strength of the muscle, keep the organ in its proper place, and increase the chances that a hernia will not happen again in that spot. Hernia repair mesh has been used in hernia surgeries for many years.
Because hernia patches are intended to repair hernias, no one wants or expects the repair mesh to cause more severe symptoms than it is intended to treat. However, hernia patch side effects can create serious health complications.
Pain at the Hernia Repair Site
Pain at the site of the hernia repair is a common sign that the hernia repair mesh is not working properly. While some pain in the days after surgery is common, pain that continues or gets worse may be a sign of a hernia patch side effect that needs to be examined by a doctor. Pain is often a sign of other hernia repair mesh side effects like adhesions, internal bleeding, or tissue erosion.
Adhesions and Scar Tissue
Adhesions are a type of scar tissue that forms between certain body parts, connecting them to one another when they are not intended to be. Adhesions can restrict movement and cause serious pain. While not all patients suffer adhesions after surgeries, they are a possible side effect of hernia repair mesh implant surgeries.
In places where a hernia repair patch rubs up against muscle, organs, or other body tissues, tissue erosion can result. Tissue erosion may cause internal bleeding, adhesions or scarring, and infections. It may also be quite painful. Tissue erosion may require blood transfusions, antibiotics, or even surgery to repair.
As a hernia patch erodes or breaks down the tissues surrounding it, these tissues may bleed. Internal bleeding in the abdomen frequently causes severe pain. It can also cause serious problems like anemia or scarring. Patients with internal bleeding frequently require blood transfusions to replace the blood lost. Severe internal bleeding can cause permanent tissue damage or even death if it is not treated promptly.
When a hernia patch fails, another hernia may occur in the same location as the first one. The risk of a second hernia increases if the patch has eroded surrounding muscle tissue, further weakening the muscle. A second hernia will also require surgery to correct.
The FDA recommends that patients who need hernia repair surgery ask their doctor about the use of hernia repair mesh. Important questions to ask include whether hernia repair mesh is necessary, what other treatment options are available, what the possible side effects are, and what symptoms the patient should watch for after surgery that may indicate the hernia repair mesh is not working properly.
Jacksonville Hernia Repair Mesh Side Effects Attorneys Assisting Our Clients in Florida
When hernia repair mesh fails, serious health problems can result. If you’ve suffered side effects from hernia repair mesh, contact the Jacksonville product liability attorneys at Farah & Farah today for a free, confidential consultation. We may be able to help you with your case. We can be reached at 855-797-9899.