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How dangerous is transvaginal mesh?

If you are a Montana woman who suffered a pelvic organ prolapse after giving birth to one of your children or because you are genetically predisposed to this condition, you likely underwent surgery to correct it. Your surgeon probably implanted transvaginal mesh as part of the procedure. Even though (s)he surely informed you of his or her intentions ahead of time and you gave your signed informed consent, that does not mean that this mesh was safe or will remain so.

Women’s Health Magazine explains that transvaginal mesh is a very strong net-like material. Surgeons started using it routinely for pelvic organ prolapse procedures about 20 years ago. Since it is stronger than your own tissues, it does a better job of supporting your bladder, uterus and/or rectum, thereby preventing them from descending from your vagina, which is the definition of a pelvic organ prolapse.

Health risks

Despite the practical value of transvaginal mesh, however, it came under attack in 2008 when the Food and Drug Administration discovered that manufacturers and marketers had convinced doctors of the product’s safety without doing the long-term research necessary to back up those claims. Based on follow-up studies, the FDA reclassified transvaginal mesh’s health risk from moderate to high in 2014.

Thousands of women nationwide have since filed and won product liability suits against the manufacturers and distributors, as well as medical malpractice suits against their doctors who used this product as part of their surgical procedures. The women claim such post-surgical problems as the following:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pain
  • Migration of the mesh through their vaginal wall into other organs
  • Inability to control their bladder or bowel
  • Sexual dysfunction

If your surgery included a transvaginal mesh implant, be on the lookout for these symptoms and seek medical advice if they appear. This is educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.

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