The Problem with Transvaginal Mesh

Women of a certain age may notice that when they laugh or cough, a little pee comes out. It is not that bad yet, but as women grow older, it can get pretty bad. This is called stress urinary incontinence (SUI) which results from the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Another medical condition that may result from this weakness is pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in which the bladder, uterus or rectum slips from its normal position and impinge on the vagina, sometimes bulging out. When SUI or POP is severe, women normally turn to surgery to treat the problem. Among the most popular treatment methods was the placement of transvaginal mesh—that is, before the vaginal mesh lawyers started being called in.

Surgical mesh, per se, has been used safely for years to repair hernias. As a treatment for POP, the use of a specially prepared mesh may have seemed like a good idea. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the use of transvaginal mesh without requiring manufacturers to conduct safety trials because it was substantially the same as a previously approved product i.e. surgical mesh. Unfortunately for some women, something got lost in the translation. The transvaginal mesh caused painful and costly complications that would leave these patients permanently damaged.

What went wrong? The first part of the problem was the site of the surgery. “Transvaginal” means the surgery was done through the vagina, and that part of a woman’s anatomy is never completely sterile; natural flora blooms there which is great for overall feminine health but problematic when it comes to surgery. The chances of infection are high.

Another problem with transvaginal mesh is that it shrinks and shifts because the vagina is constructed to expand when needed; the mesh can’t keep up. As a result, rough edges develop which tears into vaginal walls and nearby organs.

The tragic thing is that there are other, safer alternatives to POP and SUI treatment which these women may have chosen if they had the right information. The manufacturers could also have saved a ton of money in personal injury claims if they had taken the time to study the product design. With proper testing, the problems of transvaginal mesh use mentioned above could have been prevented by using a different design, or perhaps different material.

The shortcut from the drawing board to the surgical table has cost thousands of women a lot of pain and suffering, both in the physical and emotional sense, not to mention the financial consequences of additional treatment, surgery and hospitalization. It is just right that the victims should have the opportunity to make the manufacturers pay compensation with the help of transvaginal mesh lawyers.