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Hernia repair surgeries are very common in the United States with over one million performed each year. Often, surgeons will use mesh to repair hernias. Surgical mesh is a medical device that is used to help provide additional support to damaged tissue during recovery. There are alternatives to using a surgical mesh, but they are still commonly used. Hernia meshes, such as Covidien Parietex Hernia Mesh, can cause serious injuries and complications years after being inserted into the body.
Synthetic meshes use polypropylene, a commercial plastic commonly used to produce items like fishing poles and bottle caps. Polypropylene meshes have been used since 1959 but have never been approved for permanent implantation in the human body. Over time, these meshes can migrate or erode. Some of these include: infection, adhesions, bowel obstruction, abdominal pain, rashes, leg, groin, and testicular pain, dyspareunia, testicle removal, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, seroma, fistula, dental problems, autoimmune disorders, neurological changes, severe headache, fever, renal failure, liver abnormalities, joint aches and pain, abnormal sweating, and meshoma.
Manufacturers like Covidien rushed to find a solution to the problems polypropylene was causing. One solution was to create a coating to put on the mesh in an effort to get around the FDA Pre-Market Approval status. Coatings are supposed to be absorbed into the body after a few months/years. The FDA requires any ‘barrier’ to go through their approval process. Manufactures told the FDA that the coated mesh products would not be advertised as having a ‘barrier’.
Mesh manufactures also funded studies that found that 50% of hernia surgeries failed without the use of a mesh. While only 20% failed when using a mesh. These studies also claimed that there were less recurrences when using mesh. Most of these studies were lacking in many ways; specifically, with the duration. The majority of serious issues and injuries occur as long as 10+ years after surgery.
Our attorneys are currently reviewing the potential for hernia mesh lawsuits. If you or a loved one has had hernia repair surgery using synthetic mesh, you may contact us here or call 304-367-1862 to schedule a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys.