How Can Transvaginal Mesh Complications Impact Quality Of Life?

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Attorney Jessie Paluch has over 25 years of legal experience in personal injury lawsuits, mass tort litigations, and also spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte. As the founder of TruLaw, Jessie collaborates with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis — further expanding her legal expertise and enabling her to share reliable, up-to-date legal information with our readers!

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and attorneys at TorHoerman Law and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Tor Hoerman, you can do so here.

TorHoerman Law does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Key takeaways:

  • Transvaginal mesh complications can cause chronic pain, infections, and urinary problems that disrupt daily life and work, leading to emotional distress such as anxiety or depression.
  • Serious complications may require additional surgeries like mesh removal, resulting in recovery periods that impact personal independence and financial stability due to lost income and medical expenses.
  • The FDA has banned some uses of transvaginal mesh because of the high risks involved, highlighting the severity of potential issues for those with surgical mesh implants.

How Can Transvaginal Mesh Complications Impact Quality of Life?

On this page, we will discuss an overview of how transvaginal mesh complications can impact quality of life, treatment procedures causing transvaginal mesh complications, how to file a transvaginal mesh lawsuit, and much more.

How Can Transvaginal Mesh Complications Impact Quality Of Life

Intro to Transvaginal Mesh Complications

The following transvaginal mesh complications have the potential to impact your quality of life significantly:

  • Chronic Pain: Persistent discomfort and pain can arise from mesh erosion or contraction, severely affecting daily activities and overall well-being.
  • Infection: The mesh may lead to recurrent infections, requiring additional medical treatment and impacting long-term health.
  • Urinary Problems: Mesh implantation can disrupt normal urinary functions, resulting in complications such as incontinence or difficulty urinating.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: The presence of mesh can cause pain during intercourse or other sexual dysfunction, adversely affecting intimate relationships.

Our experienced team of product liability attorneys at TruLaw estimates settlement values may reach as much as $150,000 to $400,000, depending on the severity of the transvaginal mesh complications.

Contact TruLaw using the chat on this page to find out if you qualify to seek compensation in the transvaginal mesh lawsuit today.

Table of Contents

Transvaginal Mesh Complications and Risks

Transvaginal mesh, used in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence, has been associated with several complications and adverse effects.Transvaginal Mesh Complications and Risks

These range from mild to severe and can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life.

Mesh Complications and Side Effects

Transvaginal mesh can cause a variety of complications, which are important to consider when evaluating treatment options.

The key complications include:

  1. Persistent Pain: Discomfort extending for an extended period post-surgery.
  2. Infection: Potential for bacterial infections at the mesh site.
  3. Bleeding: Cases of bleeding have been reported, which may necessitate further medical attention.
  4. Dyspareunia: Painful sexual intercourse is a notable consequence of the mesh procedure.
  5. Vaginal Scarring: Scarring can lead to reduced vaginal flexibility and narrowing.

Chronic Pelvic Pain

A significant side effect in some patients post-transvaginal mesh implantation is chronic pelvic pain.

This type of pain persists for more than six months and can significantly impair the patient’s daily activities and overall well-being.

Mesh Exposure and Erosion

Mesh exposure and erosion can lead to serious complications, causing discomfort and potentially requiring further medical intervention.

Symptoms such as vaginal bleeding and visible mesh are alarming indicators of these risks, necessitating prompt attention and evaluation by a healthcare professional.

Vaginal mesh exposure and mesh erosion represent some of the most concerning risks of transvaginal mesh surgery, with symptoms that include:

  • Vaginal Bleeding: Unusual bleeding may be a sign of mesh erosion.
  • Visible Mesh: In certain cases, the mesh may become exposed through the vaginal tissue.
  • Discharge: An abnormal vaginal discharge can indicate mesh complications.
  • Recurrent Infections: Chronic infections may point to an issue with the mesh.

Urinary Complications

Postoperative urinary problems are another area of concern.

These urinary complications may present as:

  • Urinary Incontinence: The return of urinary leakage or the onset of new incontinence.
  • Urinary Retention: Difficulty in emptying the bladder fully.
  • Painful Urination: Discomfort during urination can be linked to mesh complications.
  • Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections: An increased number of urinary tract infections can follow mesh surgery.

Diagnosing Transvaginal Mesh Complications

Timely and accurate diagnosis is crucial for effectively managing patients presenting with transvaginal mesh complications.

Diagnosing Transvaginal Mesh Complications

The process involves a series of steps to identify specific issues and determine appropriate management strategies.

Identifying Mesh-Related Complications

A thorough patient evaluation is imperative to identify if symptoms are indeed mesh-related complications.

This includes:

  • Patient history, including onset of symptoms and their relation to previous pelvic organ prolapse surgery.
  • A comprehensive pelvic examination is to check for signs of mesh exposure or erosion.
  • Ultrasonographic examinations, especially when physical exams are inconclusive, visualize mesh positioning and integrity.
  • Utilizing two-dimensional and three-dimensional ultrasonography as advanced diagnostic tools can provide more detailed imaging for certain complications.

Management of Mesh Exposure

Once the presence of mesh exposure is confirmed, several management options are considered based on the severity and symptoms.

Recommendations may include:

  1. Conservative management, such as estrogen cream for minor exposures without significant symptoms.
  2. Surgical intervention to trim exposed mesh for symptomatic or larger exposures, aiming for minimal invasiveness.
  3. Complete mesh removal in cases of severe complications, infection, or when conservative measures fail.
  4. Customized patient management plans, taking into account individual patient symptoms, the extent of mesh exposure, and patient preferences.

The study “Mesh Complications: Best Practice in Diagnosis and Treatment” provides comprehensive management guidelines for dealing with various mesh-related complications.

Treatment Procedures Causing Transvaginal Mesh Complications

Transvaginal mesh complications often stem from the initial surgery where the mesh is implanted.

Treatment Procedures Causing Transvaginal Mesh Complications

These complications can necessitate further treatment procedures ranging from corrective surgeries to non-invasive management options.

Mesh Removal and Revision Surgeries

When mesh removal surgery or mesh revision surgery is indicated due to complications, the approach taken is critical to patient outcomes.

The following steps are typically involved in these types of surgeries:

  1. Preoperative assessment to understand the extent of the issue and plan the appropriate surgical intervention.
  2. Surgical removal of the mesh, which may be partial (mesh excision) or complete, depending on the severity of the complication.
  3. Tissue repair and healing are crucial for restoring function and relieving symptoms caused by the initial mesh placement.
  4. Postoperative care, including monitoring for infection, pain management, and assessing the success of the surgery.

Non-Surgical Management Options

For some patients, non-surgical interventions can be considered to manage transvaginal mesh complications.

Key options include:

  • Pain management therapies, utilizing medications or alternative modalities to reduce discomfort.
  • Physical therapy can help strengthen pelvic muscles and alleviate certain symptoms.
  • Behavioral modifications, such as dietary changes and fluid management, minimize the impact on daily life.
  • Close monitoring, to track any changes in symptoms and intervene promptly if necessary.

Each treatment procedure, whether surgical or non-surgical, must be tailored to the patient’s specific situation and health status, always prioritizing their well-being and quality of life.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications: FDA Recommendations

The FDA’s involvement in regulating transvaginal mesh implants arose from reports of complications, leading to a reevaluation of their safety and recommendations for healthcare providers.

Transvaginal Mesh Complications FDA Recommendations

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Stance

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been scrutinizing transvaginal surgical mesh devices due to an uptick in reported complications.

Based on their findings, they have issued several recommendations to improve patient outcomes:

  1. Reporting Complications: The FDA encourages the prompt reporting of adverse events related to transvaginal mesh to facilitate ongoing assessment of mesh-related risks.
  2. Patient Counseling: Providers should discuss the potential risks and benefits of mesh procedures with patients, emphasizing the regulatory considerations and recommendations.
  3. Healthcare Provider Education: Education initiatives are recommended to ensure practitioners are well-informed about mesh implantation techniques and associated complications.
  4. Informed Consent: Obtaining informed consent is vital, including a detailed explanation of the risks associated with transvaginal mesh.
  5. Alternative Treatments: The FDA suggests that healthcare providers consider alternative treatments for pelvic organ prolapse before opting for surgical mesh.
  6. Postmarket Surveillance: Manufacturers of transvaginal mesh are required to conduct postmarket surveillance studies to assess long-term outcomes.

Clinical Guidelines and Standards

Healthcare providers must stay updated on FDA safety communications about transvaginal mesh. They should be proficient in mesh implantation, focus on individualized patient evaluation, and monitor patients after surgery.

This proactive approach prioritizes education and patient safety, aligning with the FDA’s mission to safeguard public health.

In response to the FDA’s recommendations, healthcare providers are urged to adhere to the following guidelines and standards:

  • Understand FDA Communications: Clinicians should stay informed about the latest FDA safety communications regarding transvaginal mesh.
  • Training and Competence: Surgeons must demonstrate proficiency in mesh implantation and manage any potential complications effectively.
  • Clinical Decision Making: Emphasis on individualized patient evaluation when considering the use of transvaginal mesh for pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Post-Surgery Monitoring: Regular follow-up is imperative to monitor for any complications post-mesh implantation, aligning with FDA recommendations.

This proactive approach, rooted in education and patient safety, aligns with the FDA’s mission to protect public health.

Future Perspectives and Alternatives to Transvaginal Mesh Surgery

The ongoing challenges with transvaginal mesh (TVM) for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence have spurred development in the field of female pelvic reconstructive surgery.

Future Perspectives and Alternatives to Transvaginal Mesh Surgery

Researchers and clinicians are actively pursuing future perspectives and alternatives that offer efficacy with reduced complications.

Advances in Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery

Medical researchers are expanding the boundaries of pelvic reconstructive surgery with innovative approaches that minimize the use of transvaginal mesh.

The following items highlight key developments:

  1. Biocompatible materials: Investigation into materials that the body can better tolerate is ongoing, potentially reducing the risk of mesh exposure and erosion.
  2. Absorbable meshes: These may provide temporary support during the healing process and then degrade, thereby lessening long-term complication risks.
  3. Robotic surgery: Enhanced precision in surgical procedures can reduce damage to surrounding tissues and improve outcomes.
  4. 3D-printed scaffolds: Tailored to the patient’s specific anatomy, these could offer a personalized approach to pelvic reconstruction.

Alternative Treatments to Mesh

In response to mesh-related complications, healthcare providers explore alternative non-mesh surgical options tailored to each patient’s needs and medical history.

These options include autologous tissue repair, pelvic physiotherapy, pessaries, and lifestyle modifications, offering diverse approaches to address pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence with reduced risks.

As a response to mesh-related complications, healthcare providers consider several non-mesh surgical options:

  • Autologous tissue repair: Utilizing the patient’s tissue for repair may reduce the likelihood of rejection and complications associated with foreign materials.
  • Pelvic physiotherapy: Strengthening pelvic floor muscles through specialized exercises offers a non-invasive approach to managing symptoms of prolapse and incontinence.
  • Pessaries: The fitting of a pessary device is a non-surgical option that can provide temporary or long-term support to pelvic organs.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Weight management, dietary adjustments, and smoking cessation may alleviate symptoms and reduce the need for surgical intervention.

Types of Transvaginal Mesh Kits

Medical professionals have access to various transvaginal mesh kits tailored for different clinical scenarios related to pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.Types of Transvaginal Mesh Kits

The choice of mesh kit is crucial for the success of the procedure and can influence the risk profile for complications.

Here is an overview of the types of mesh kits and their usage:

  • Non-absorbable synthetic materials: Typically used for permanent support.
  • Absorbable synthetic materials: Temporarily provide support while new tissue grows.
  • Biological materials: Can be derived from human or animal tissue, offering an alternative to synthetic mesh.

Each type of mesh has its own potential for complications and success rates.

A careful assessment by a medical professional is necessary to minimize risks and choose the most appropriate kit for each patient’s needs.

Understanding the potential complications of transvaginal mesh procedures and the variety of mesh kits available can help patients and healthcare providers make informed decisions about these surgical interventions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the common signs indicating complications with a bladder sling?

    Signs of complications with a bladder sling may include persistent pelvic pain, urinary problems such as incontinence or difficulty urinating, and pain during intercourse.

    These symptoms suggest that further medical evaluation is necessary.

  • What symptoms can arise from surgical mesh problems?

    Symptoms resulting from surgical mesh problems can be diverse; however, they typically involve discomfort and pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding, and signs of infection.

    It is important for individuals to seek medical attention if they experience these symptoms.

  • How is mesh erosion typically identified and treated?

    Mesh erosion is typically identified through symptoms like vaginal bleeding or spotting, pelvic pain, and pain with intercourse.

    Treatments often include nonsurgical options such as estrogen therapy but may escalate to surgical intervention for mesh removal or revision.

  • Are there unique complications associated with pelvic mesh after a hysterectomy?

    Yes, unique complications associated with pelvic mesh post-hysterectomy can occur, including mesh contraction leading to vaginal shrinkage or shortening and organ perforation.

    These issues require immediate medical assessment.

  • How does a bladder sling differ from other pelvic mesh implants?

    A bladder sling specifically supports the urethra or bladder neck to treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.

    In contrast, other pelvic mesh implants may be designed to support various pelvic organs, addressing conditions like pelvic floor disorders and organ prolapse.

  • Can complications from transvaginal mesh arise years after the initial surgery?

    Complications from transvaginal mesh can indeed manifest years after surgery, emphasizing the need for long-term follow-up.

    Patients may experience late-onset complications such as mesh erosion or chronic pelvic pain.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

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