Transvaginal Surgical Mesh-Sling Complications

Transvaginal Surgical Mesh
Transvaginal Surgical Mesh

There are 13 million adults in the US with stress urinary incontinence (SUI), 85 percent of these adults are women. Women of any age can have pelvic muscles that are too weak to support the urethra and bladder in their correct position. Pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, age, menopause, or heavy lifting can be the cause of Stress Urinary Incontinence.

About one-third of all women over the age of 65 suffer from some degree of incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence is most often experienced during moments of physical stress such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting. The first choice for treatment of this disorder is the transvaginal surgical mesh sling.

The sling is made of synthetic material and it is usually positioned so that it supports the urethra. 43-year-old Suzanne McClain of Maben, Mississippi had the symptoms of SUI and went to her doctor in 2004. He told her he had an easy fix and as reported in and he recommended outpatient surgery to support weakened muscles and support the bladder.

He told her he would implant a sling made of synthetic mesh material about the size and shape of a ribbon and that it would be placed under the urethra and the bladder for support.  It’s the procedure of choice for many doctors.“He told me it was the most wonderful thing invented,” McClain says, “and that I’d never have this problem again.”

Several Types Of Surgical Mesh

It’s a much better option than wearing a diaper for the rest of your life. “He said how it was minimally invasive taking less than an hour to implant, how I could return to work in a few days, how I may have minor discomfort or even minor bleeding, but that was normal.” McClain’s doctor suggested the TVT Mesh, one of the several types of transvaginal surgical mesh slings.

Suzanne learned later that TVT stood for Transvaginal Tension Free (TVT) mesh, it’s made by Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson.  It’s a polypropylene woven webbed knit fabric that provides enough give to form a sling. Suzanne had the transvaginal surgical mesh sling implanted and was trouble-free for four years.

One day she knew she had a problem when she began to detect a horrible odor and it would not go away. “It was 24-7, and there was a God-awful odor that would not go away. I tried Monistat and antibiotics. I realized I had a problem.” when she went to see her urologist he told her, “You’ve won the prize and it’s not a good one.”

Surgical Mesh Can Erode Vaginal Wall

He insisted that he had not seen this type of result beyond six weeks following surgery. “I was put out by that,” she says. He prescribed estrogen cream for the problem and she found a new gynecologist. In July 2008, her new doctor, a urogynecologist, discovered that the surgical mesh had eroded through her vaginal wall.

A month later she had surgery and the surgeon was able to extract only about one-third of the mesh-like medical device. The surgeon tried to extract all the mesh but it had become enmeshed in her tissues so he was forced to leave the remainder behind. If the mesh continued to migrate it would have to be extracted through the abdomen, dissecting her tissues from within the mesh, a very dangerous surgery.

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“I was never told about the risks, I was told nothing but that there would be minor pain and bleeding for a few days, then you can go back to work. I was never told about the erosion or adherence to organs. Had I known that I would have weighed my options.” If you or a loved one have suffered injury from implanted surgical mesh devices please contact a qualified personal injury lawyer today at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.

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