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Legal Options & Rights

Transvaginal mesh (TV mesh) is a medical implant made of synthetic material, such as plastic, that resembles a fine net. The name “transvaginal” derives from a method used to place the mesh between the bladder and the vaginal wall by surgically inserting it through the vagina.

What is TV mesh used for?

Transvaginal mesh is often used to treat certain medical conditions that affect women. The most common use for TV mesh is to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). This is a condition in which the muscles that hold a woman’s pelvic organs – such as her uterus and bladder – become weakened, causing the organs to bulge into the vaginal canal. POP can be brought on by childbirth, menopause, or surgery, such as a hysterectomy. Transvaginal mesh can help prevent POP by supporting the pelvic muscles.

Another common condition TV mesh is used to treat is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). SUI occurs when urine is involuntarily released due to weakened pelvic muscles. In patients with SUI, even everyday activities like coughing, sneezing, and laughing can cause the bladder to release urine. Transvaginal mesh is used to support the pelvic muscles and alleviate pressure on the bladder.

What are the problems associated with transvaginal mesh implants?

Transvaginal mesh was approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996, but problems with the implants were quickly apparent. One of the most common issues is that the mesh eventually erodes and disintegrates. This erosion leaves behind sharp mesh fragments that can damage the nearby tissue and even perforate vital organs.

Because the eroded mesh often becomes entwined in the surrounding soft body tissue, it’s extremely difficult to surgically remove the mesh, making treatment a lengthy and painful process.

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What types of injuries are caused by transvaginal mesh?

Some common injuries associated with transvaginal mesh include:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal scarring

Another common complication caused by eroded meshes is organ perforation. This happens when tiny pieces of the mesh break off and puncture a patient’s organs, causing internal injuries.

Has there been a TV mesh recall?

In 2011, the FDA issued a warning that serious complications with the transvaginal mesh used for POP were more common than previously thought. The FDA also found that treating POP with the mesh was no more effective than other treatment and may even expose patients to more risk of injury. In addition, several manufacturers of the implants have recalled their TV mesh products, the first being Boston Scientific which withdrew its mesh implants in 1999. Other companies that have voluntarily issued a mesh recall include Mentor Corporation, C.R. Bard, and Ethicon – a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Is the mesh manufacturer liable for a patient’s injuries?

Manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their products are safe for consumers. If a patient is injured by a dangerously defective medical device, she may be able to recover damages for medical bills related to additional treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering that resulted from the injury. Even if the mesh you received wasn’t part of a transvaginal mesh recall, the manufacturer may still be liable for your injuries.

Are there any lawsuits related to transvaginal mesh injuries?

Currently, there are lawsuits pending against six manufacturers of transvaginal mesh implants: C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, Ethicon, Coloplast, and Cook Medical. The cases against each of these companies have been consolidated in a process called multidistrict litigation, or MDL. This means that no matter where a case against a transvaginal mesh manufacturer was filed it will be heard first in one location by a single federal judge.

What can I do if I’ve been injured by a TV mesh implant?

If you’ve been injured by a transvaginal mesh implant you may be able to receive compensation. A product liability lawyer can inform you about your legal options. However, a law called a statute of limitations will limit the time period you have to file a lawsuit.

You should also periodically check the FDA’s website to determine whether your implant has been part of a TV mesh recall.