Hernia Mesh Lawsuits: What You Need to Know
Hernia mesh lawsuits are lawsuits filed against a surgical mesh manufacturer by people who had hernia mesh implanted and are now suffering serious injuries as a result. Currently, there are more than 17,000 lawsuits pending against hernia mesh manufacturers in courts across the country.
What is a hernia?
A hernia is when part of an organ bulges through a weak spot of a wall of muscle or tissue in the body. Hernias have a number of causes including natural aging and weakening of the abdominal wall, congenital defects, heavy lifting, injuries, pregnancy, weight gain, and surgery, to name a few. Experts estimate that one in ten people have a hernia at some point throughout their life. People who suffer from hernias often get repair surgery, with most repair procedures utilizing hernia mesh.
What is hernia mesh?
Hernia mesh is a surgical mesh that supports damaged muscle and tissue around a hernia in order to allow the hernia to heal. During a hernia mesh procedure, surgeons place the mesh in the areas near the hernia and fasten it with stitches, staples, and/or glue. The holes in the mesh allow tissue to grow into it, strengthening the tissue wall as it regrows.
What are the symptoms of hernia mesh failure?
There are a multitude of complications that hernia mesh recipients can face. Some of the symptoms resulting from hernia mesh insertion can include:
Pain: Some hernia mesh recipients experience pain and discomfort. This can happen soon after the surgery, or years later due to latent complications. Some people experience pain when walking or conducting activities of daily living, while for others, the pain is constant. Pain can also be a sign of a more serious underlying issue, and if left untreated, it could cause nerve damage and a number of other complications.
Infections: Data shows that an estimated 7-8% of patients who undergo open incisional hernia mesh repair surgery develop an infection. Hernia mesh-related infections can cause other symptoms, including inflammation, redness, pain and discomfort, flu-like symptoms, and swollen lymph nodes.
Seromas: A seroma is fluid buildup that collects underneath the skin’s surface. The condition can develop after surgical procedures, including hernia mesh implant. Seromas generally look like a swollen lump or a cyst, and can be painful or tender to touch. They may also excrete liquid drainage.
Mesh Rejection: Synthetic hernia mesh is made out of materials that are foreign to the body. Unfortunately, this means that some patients may experience a hernia mesh rejection. This occurs when the body has a poor immune response to the mesh implant. The immune system may confuse the foreign materials for a virus, and attempt to attack the implant area and break down the mesh. The results of a rejection can be localized to the surgical site or systemic, affecting the whole body. Symptoms of hernia mesh rejection can include swelling, tenderness and pain, redness, and flu-like symptoms.
Breaks/Migration: In some cases, the hernia mesh can migrate from the surgical site to another part of the body. This can happen because of a design defect that prevents the mesh from being properly secured to the surgical site, or it may result from inflammation due to a negative immune response to the mesh. Detachment and/or migration can cause pain, adhesions, fistulas, abscesses, and other major issues.
Hernia Recurrence: Sometimes, the hernia mesh breaks, moves, erodes, or fails. This can cause the hernia that it was attempting to resolve to return.
Adhesion: After the hernia mesh is implanted, the body may form scar tissue that molds around the mesh and binds it to another organ or piece of tissue. Adhesions can cause a variety of other issues, including cramping, fever, constipation, swelling, and other problems.
Bowel Obstruction: In some cases, hernia mesh has been known to obstruct the bowels, usually by adhering to the intestines. This can cause a number of digestive issues, such as nausea, vomiting, and constipation. It can also cut off blood flow, which can cause part of the intestine to die and need to be removed via surgery.
Perforation of other Organs or Tissue: Sometimes, hernia mesh can puncture or erode the bowel, the bladder, the intestines, or other organs. Perforations in the bladder can cause pain when urinating and pelvic cramping, while bowel and/or intestines can cause fecal matter and bacteria to enter the abdomen, causing inflammation, infections, and sepsis. This can be extremely painful, as well as life-threatening.
Revision Surgery: While some hernia mesh complications, such as minor infections, can be treated with antibiotics, for other hernia mesh recipients, revision surgery may be necessary.
Why does hernia mesh insertion fail?
Hernia mesh insertion can fail as a result of the mesh being a defective product. Some brands have a higher failure rate than others, with several brands issuing hernia mesh recalls. Ethicon’s Physio Flexible Composite Mesh was pulled from the market in 2016 after research found it to have higher failure rates than other brands. Other hernia mesh lawsuits are against manufacturers such as C.R. Bard, Atrium Medical, Covidien, and Gore Medical.
Other times, the hernia mesh implementation fails due to medical malpractice. Poor surgical techniques can increase the likelihood of the patient suffering complications from hernia mesh insertion. Improperly implanted hernia mesh could result in injuries and pain for the recipient.
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as pain, infections, and digestive issues you believe may be due to your hernia mesh, speak with your doctor right away. Then, talk to an attorney to see what legal action you may be able to take. Our Defective Products Attorneys offer free, confidential consultations, and you don’t pay unless we win. Give us a call at 713-224-9000, or fill out our contact form here.