Transvaginal Mesh Implants – Not Just An American Nightmare

What is the purpose of transvaginal mesh (TVM) implantation?

TVM is used to support the pelvic floor and address the symptoms associated with both SUI and POP. The mesh is intended to work as a hammock which will support the affected organs. TVM is generally made from polyester or polypropylene (like a nylon strap on a laptop bag or similar).

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI): A condition resulting from childbirth and pregnancy in which the weakened pelvis muscles allow the urethra to involuntarily leak urine.
Symptoms of SUI include urine leakage while laughing, coughing, sneezing, exercising, and heavy lifting.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP): A condition resulting from childbirth and pregnancy in which stretched and weakened pelvis muscles cause either (or both) the bladder and urethra to fall from their normal position, pushing against the vaginal wall.

Symptoms of POP include abdominal pain, back pain, pain during intercourse, constipation, vaginal pressure, difficulty holding bowel movements, stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) Public Health Notification:
October 20, 2008 – “…Over the past three years, FDA has received over 1,000 reports from nine surgical mesh manufacturers of complications that were associated with surgical mesh devices used to repair POP and SUI.”

Defects in Vaginal Mesh

Vaginal mesh has a high rate of debilitating adverse effects on patients such as the following:

  • mesh exposure;
  • mesh erosion (most patients with erosion require surgical treatment);’
  • infection;
  • bleeding;
  • pain;
  • neuromuscular problems;
  • vaginal scarring;
  • organ perforation;
  • urinary problems;
  • pain during sexual intercourse;
  • recurrent prolapse; and
  • psychological problems.

Injuries can hinder activities such as sitting, walking, having sexual intercourse, and work.
For many women, there is no way to undo the harm done. Multiple surgeries may be required to remove piece of mesh. However, mesh cannot always be removed completely. Even after a number of corrective surgeries, complication may continue.

Doctors are not properly informed or trained on the use of, or complications associated with, the use of vaginal mesh. Doctors are told by manufacturers that this is a “one size fits all solution” to a complex medical problem. Doctors are not told that some categories of patients are not candidates for vaginal mesh repairs. Patients are not provided enough information to make an informed decision regarding the use of vaginal mesh.

UK Figures:
Approximately 10,000 women a year have received a mesh implant to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Estimates of severe side effects from mesh range from government reports stating from 10% to leading urogynecologists stating up to 40%.

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