Transvaginal mesh is implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence in women. It has been used in millions of women to act as a “hammock” to support organs such as the bladder or uterus that have begun to “fall” due to childbirth and aging. Transvaginal mesh is implanted through the vagina or “transvaginally” rather than through an incision made in the abdomen.
Unfortunately, severe side effects and complications may occur in up to 10% of the women who have undergone a transvaginal mesh procedure.
What are the side effects of transvaginal mesh?
Transvaginal Mesh has caused complications and serious side effects in thousands of women. Some of these side effects may cause suffering, loss of function and interfere with a patient’s quality of life, while others are much more serious and may be life-threatening.
Side effects of transvaginal mesh may include:
- Pain or discomfort of the vagina or in the surrounding pelvic region
- Nerve damage including pain or loss of sensation in the vagina or surrounding pelvic region
- Vaginal scarring
- Vaginal shrinkage
- Pain during intercourse
- Recurrence of POP or SUI
- New occurrence of SUI
- Chronic urinary tract infection
- Increased risk of infection
- Excessive vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal wall erosion
- Vaginal or other organ perforation
- Need for revision surgery
- Emotional trauma
Side effects may evolve into serious adverse events (SAEs) which require extensive medical treatment and may be permanent or life-threatening.
What are complications of transvaginal mesh?
Transvaginal mesh implantation has resulted in serious adverse events for thousands of women who received the medical device to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Serious adverse events (SAEs) are defined as side effects or complications which are severe and result in the need for in-patient hospitalization, cause permanent injury or death, or require surgical intervention.
SAEs caused by transvaginal mesh have included:
Transvaginal Mesh Erosion
Transvaginal mesh implanted through the vagina can erode a portion of the vaginal wall. Vaginal erosion caused by mesh can also result in scar tissue formation and shrinkage of vaginal tissues. Vaginal mesh erosion may require corrective or revision surgery but may be permanently disabling. Women who develop this complication may also experience excessive bleeding, severe pain, loss of sensation, and may be unable to have sexual intercourse. In some cases, the original medical condition (SUI or POP) may also return.
Transvaginal Mesh Organ Perforation
If vaginal mesh erosion is allowed to progress, it may result in vaginal perforation. It may also cause erosion or perforation of other pelvic or abdominal organs. Women who develop transvaginal mesh organ perforation may also experience severe pain, increased infection risk and severe bleeding. Perforation of pelvic or abdominal organs such as the kidneys, colon or liver may increase the risk of life-threatening complications.
Transvaginal Mesh Revision Surgery
Severe side effects or complications of transvaginal mesh failure may result in a need for one or more additional surgeries. Revision surgery may be required to remove and repair damage caused by the mesh to one or more organs. It may also be required to address the original medical problem that has not been adequately treated or to correct a new occurrence of POP or SUI. Each surgery exposes the patient to additional risks of infection, bleeding and pain which may last a long period of time. In some cases, even with revision surgery, permanent damage may have occurred and is not reversible.