Women across the country rely on mesh implants to resolve problems with prolapse and incontinence. Unfortunately, there have been issues with these products in recent years, leading to changes in how these issues are handled. Meshbesher & Spence’s Ashleigh Raso recently spoke to KROC AM about mesh implant complications and the resulting litigation.
Mesh Implant Issues
Could you tell us a little about how mesh implants are used? Sometimes after childbirth, women experience problems later in life. It usually occurs after menopause, but it can appear earlier for some women. In these women, organs “prolapse,” which means in essence they drop downward. Some women experience incontinence, especially when they sneeze or cough. Mesh implants have been implanted in the vaginal area as a remedy to both of these issues.
What issues have been reported? Sometimes the problems don’t show up for years after the device has been implanted. Mesh implants have been known to erode or shrink, causing scarring, pain, or infection. Unfortunately, unlike issues with other types of implants, mesh can’t simply be taken out. It can be cut down, but it becomes embedded into a person’s muscles and organs, even perforating the organs sometimes.
Is mesh still being used in prolapse and incontinence cases? Although there have been many reported cases of issues with these implants, there are still patients for whom mesh implants have provided relief. They are still used in some cases. However, in recent years there seems to have been a push toward more conservative management, such as using your body tissue instead of foreign matter or recommending Kegel exercises.
IMPACT OF ISSUES
Do women with mesh implant issues experience pain? Often these women are in an incredible, incredible amount of pain. It can require multiple surgeries to cut the implant down to reduce symptoms and improve a woman’s quality of life. It also affects their intimate relationships, which can directly impact their quality of life.
When litigation is involved, are you asking for surgical help or just pain and suffering? There is some surgical help to try to get some of the mesh out, which is not pleasant, but it helps in some circumstances to remove some of the mesh and replace it with something that will work. But, yes, some of it is pain and suffering.
SCOPE OF ISSUE
So mesh was a common solution back in the 70s and 80s? No, in the thousands. Most of my clients had the implant two or three years ago.
How did mesh implants become so popular? The problem used to be treated more conservatively and then they found this mesh and it was going to be the next great thing. Of course, we know that doesn’t always work out.
Is this a problem that only affects older women? It’s often post-menopause, but it can affect women at a younger age. In part, it’s hereditary. One of my youngest clients is probably 40. The issue can affect women between the ages of 40s to 80s.
For women who have been affected by mesh implants and would like to speak to a qualified, compassionate attorney, Meshbesher & Spence’s Ashleigh Raso is available.