A Quick Guide to Transvaginal Mesh

If you watch television, you have probably heard about the controversy over the transvaginal mesh, a small piece of material that is surgically implanted in the pelvis for the purposes of holding damaged tissue together. The mesh acts as a sling for organs that are having trouble staying in place on their own, which can sometimes occur as a result of an accident or pregnancy complications. Some types of mesh are made from biological material that will absorb back into the body as it heals, and other types are synthetic and must be later removed by a doctor.

What Medical Conditions Sometimes Require the Use of a Transvaginal Mesh?

Doctors can choose to use a mesh to treat urinary incontinence as well as any condition that causes pelvic organ prolapse. When the pelvic organs can no longer hold in their proper position, they begin to stretch, bulge, and weaken, shifting downward into the vagina. The most common organs to prolapse are the bladder, the uterus, and the rectum.

Are There Risks and Side Effects When Using the Transvaginal Mesh?

. In 2011, research revealed that the mesh may not be capable of repairing prolapsed organs. It also showed that patients who had received the mesh often suffered unpleasant complications, such as the mesh coming loose and causing damage. The transvaginal mesh may cause other side effects such as bleeding, infection, and pain during sex.There are also reports that pelvic organ prolapse often continued to worsen despite the mesh being in place.

Has the Transvaginal Mesh Been Recalled?

A number of different recalls of transvaginal mesh products occurred over the years. In 2011, the FDA reviewed the dangers and possible health risks of the mesh. It was decided that the mesh would not be removed from the market but that new testing would be required. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson stopped selling its mesh products.

Have There Been Any Successful Lawsuits?

There have been thousands of lawsuits involving the transvaginal mesh, and two plaintiffs have received a significant awards. In 2012, Christine Scott was awarded over $5 million after undergoing many corrective surgeries because of the injuries that were caused by her transvaginal mesh. In 2013, Linda Gross received over $11 million from Johnson & Johnson after having 18 different surgeries. The jury felt that the company failed to warn patients of the risks. Many more lawsuits are currently ongoing.