For many women suffering from stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse, vaginal mesh implants seemed like a promising treatment option. The surgically implanted medical devices were meant to provide needed support without major surgery. However, thousands of women have since experienced horrifying complications from the mesh.
Some struggle with chronic pain, painful sexual intercourse, urinary problems, mesh erosion, and damage to nearby organs. As a result, a growing number have taken legal action against the manufacturers of the controversial vaginal mesh devices. Through product liability lawsuits, these women aim to hold manufacturers accountable for the defective products that caused them enduring harm.
This article will examine why women are filing these transvaginal mesh lawsuits, seeking justice and compensation for their injuries.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse Overview
Many women undergo surgery related to prolapse and incontinence. According to recent research, approximately one in five women will undergo such surgery by age 80, which is a higher risk than developing breast cancer.
David D. Rahn, MD, noted that around 13% of women specifically require surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse. He further mentioned that surgery for recurrent prolapse is also relatively common.
So, what exactly is pelvic organ prolapse? It happens when there is weakening or harm done to the muscles and tissues which support the pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bladder, bowels, and rectum).
As a result, one or more of these organs can drop down from their usual position and bulge into or even outside of the vagina. The supporting tissues are often weakened over many years. For some women, prolapse does not cause noticeable symptoms until later in life.
When Does Transvaginal Mesh Come Into Play?
Transvaginal mesh is a surgical implant used to provide extra support to weakened pelvic tissues. The mesh helps prevent organs from prolapsing or leaking by reinforcing a damaged vaginal wall or supporting the urethra and bladder neck. “Transvaginal” refers to the procedure where surgeons implant the mesh through the vagina.
In the 1970s, abdominal mesh began being used for pelvic organ prolapse repair. During the 1990s, gynecologists adopted mesh for stress urinary incontinence as well. However, widespread reports in the late 1990s documented serious mesh complications. This led to recalls and intervention from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
How Complicated is Vaginal Mesh Implantation?
While transvaginal mesh implantation is successful for many women with no subsequent problems, some still experience complications. Issues can arise either shortly after the surgical procedure or years down the line.
The range of potential complications varies significantly in severity. Mild issues include irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge, as well as pelvic pain or swelling. More serious problems incorporate discomfort during sexual activity, urinary tract infections, or incontinence.
An additional complication is an irritating prickling or stabbing sensation in the vagina, which may worsen with exercise. Pain in the lower abdomen, buttocks, or legs has also been reported.
Manufactures of Vaginal Mesh Are Under Scrutiny
Many medical device companies have faced scrutiny for their transvaginal mesh products. Several manufacturers produced these controversial devices to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence in women. Some of the largest companies involved in the vaginal mesh lawsuit are Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific Corporation, and C.R. Bard.
According to TruLaw, Johnson & Johnson is notable for producing the Gynecare Prolift mesh, primarily used for pelvic reconstructive surgery. Boston Scientific Corporation gained recognition for its polypropylene mesh lines intended to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. C.R. Bard offers the Avaulta synthetic mesh, mainly utilized for repairing pelvic floor disorders and weakened vaginal walls.
Another manufacturer in this field is American Medical Systems, known for its Elevate, Apogee, and Perigee pelvic organ prolapse systems. Coloplast supplied the Altis Sling minimally invasive suspension system to address female stress urinary incontinence.
Cook Medical offered the biologic Surgisis graft made from pigskin as an alternative to synthetic mesh. Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, developed the mid-urethral supporting TVT-Exact Continence System. Collectively, these companies produced a variety of transvaginal mesh implants that have since faced extensive legal issues.
How Can You File a Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit?
There are several important steps to take if considering filing a vaginal mesh lawsuit.
The first step is to consult with a healthcare provider to receive an official diagnosis for any complications being experienced.
It is also crucial to thoroughly document all symptoms by keeping a record of dates, healthcare visits, treatments received, and how the complications have impacted daily life. All relevant medical records, such as hospital records, test results, and correspondence with providers, should also be retained.
An experienced lawyer specializing in vaginal mesh litigation should then be consulted to assess the viability of the potential claim. The manufacturer and specific type of mesh used during surgery will need to be identified through investigation.
With legal representation, a formal complaint can be filed against the manufacturer, alleging negligence or design defects led to the complications. From there, the case may proceed to trial or enter settlement discussions depending on various factors like past case verdicts. Continued monitoring of updates on the ongoing litigation can be done through resources online.
In conclusion, thousands of women have suffered debilitating complications from transvaginal mesh implants meant to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence. Faced with chronic pain, infections, and erosion of the mesh into organs, many women see product liability lawsuits as their only path toward accountability and compensation.
While mesh was intended to provide supportive relief, it instead caused enduring harm. Through ongoing litigation, women aim to expose manufacturing failures and design defects and ensure these products are no longer used without proper consumer safeguards. The increased scrutiny of manufacturers brings hope that future female patients will be better protected.