What is a hernia?
The use of surgical hernia mesh is the one of the most commonly-utilized medical devices used to repair hernias – which occur when a muscle or organ protrudes through another piece of muscle or connective tissue due to increased amounts of pressure in the area of the body where the hernia occurs.
There are six common forms of hernia, and they can occur throughout different areas of the body; from hernias that erupt through a surgical scar to hernias that occur near the belly button. Hernias can happen to anybody, from those who are chronically obese to Olympic athletes and can occur regardless of age or gender.
Typical risk factors for developing a hernia include anything that causes undue amounts of pressure in an area of the body where hernias are common. Some people are simply born with “weak spots” in their muscles and connective tissue that make them more likely to develop hernias, but others should be aware of these common causes of hernias:
- Continuous diarrhea or constipation leading to chronic straining
- Lifting heavy objects
- Coughing or sneezing fits
- Advancing age
- Poor nutritional health
- Existing connective tissue disorders
Although sometimes hernias can be carefully watched to make sure they don’t get worse, the only way to medically repair a hernia is through one of two surgery methods:
- Laparoscopic – The hernia is repaired through several small incisions in the body. This procedure can be done with or without surgical mesh and leads to a shorter recovery time, but is more expensive.
- Open Repair – The hernia is repaired through an incision made near the hernia. This method leads to a longer recovery time and is primarily used in hernias that are infected and in hernias that occur in infants. This method, too, can be done with or without the use of mesh.
What is hernia surgical mesh?
Hernia surgical mesh is simply a material that is used during hernia repair surgery to support the affected muscle after the hernia is placed back inside the body, so that the hernia does not reoccur. These types of mesh can be made out of synthetic material or animal tissue, and can either be permanent fixtures inside the body or they can slowly degrade by design for cases that only require temporary support from the mesh.
Although use of surgical mesh has been shown through medical research to result in a much lower frequency of hernia reoccurrence, there are a host of other potential complications and risks that come with the use of surgical mesh.
Regular complications and side effects of surgical hernia mesh include:
- Pain and bleeding
- Adhesions (scar tissue that sticks together)
- Seroma (a buildup of fluid at the site of incision)
- Nerve damage
- Shrinking/migrating mesh
- Bowel and intestinal blockage
- Autoimmune reactions/mesh rejection
- Reoccurrence of hernia
- Fistulas (irregular points of connection between separate organs)
- Organ tears and perforations
Be aware of recalled mesh products
The following companies have designed mesh products that have been revealed to be problematic and potentially threatening to your health:
Atrium Medical Corporation of Maquet Getinge Group
- Product: C-QUR surgical mesh (gained FDA approval in 2006, recalled in 2013)
Ethicon, a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson
- Products: Proceed (FDA approval in 2003, recalled in 2006, 2011 and 2014) and Physiomesh (FDA approval in 2010, withdrawn from sales by company in 2016)
Bard Davol, a subsidiary company of C.R. Bard
- Products: Kugel, 3DMax, Perfix and Sepramesh
- R. Bard’s products resulted in three Class 1 recalls (potentially life-threatening) between 2005 and 2007. Complications included fistulas and perforation of bowels.
If you or a loved one received a problematic hernia mesh during a hernia surgery and has experienced serious consequences as a result, call a legal professional at Altman & Altman today to go over the details of your case. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your undue pain and suffering. Call us for a free consultation today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.