Understanding Faulty Transvaginal Mesh

If you have been watching television, listening to talk radio or reading newspapers lately, you have probably heard about transvaginal mesh lawsuits. These actions against manufacturers of a particular type of polypropylene fabric used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence have led to more and more publicity for what was once a very private problem facing individual patients.

FDA Warnings

In 2008, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first issued a warning to physicians about using the mesh in a particular way to treat female patients; the warning was strengthened in 2011. The mesh has been used for hernia surgeries and other types of surgical repairs for decades, but its use as a preferred method of repairing pelvic organ prolapse (a relatively common condition that occurs when one of the internal organs — usually the bladder or the uterus — drops from its usual position in the abdominal cavity and pushes against the vaginal walls) has been rapidly increasing in the past few years.

In fact, the FDA reports that as many as 40 percent of vaginal prolapse surgeries now use transvaginal mesh instead of the traditional method of shoring up muscle connections and ligaments with surgical stitches or staples. When the mesh is applied across the vaginal walls ("transvaginally"), the mesh can irritate or erode through the surrounding tissue, resulting in:

  • Persistent, nonsurgical pain
  • Ripping through stitches or staples holding the mesh in place when pressure is put on the mesh, leaving extensive damage to vaginal walls
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Uncomfortable intercourse
  • Urinary problems
  • Perforation of sensitive tissues by surgical tools like scalpels, probes or retractors

If you or a loved one has suffered these or other complications of transvaginal mesh repairs, you should promptly contact a skilled personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.