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Prolene Mesh Recall and Lawsuit FAQs

Countless women have undergone transvaginal mesh procedures in order to correct complications caused by childbirth. During the procedure flexible surgical mesh is implanted through the vaginal wall in order to strengthen the pelvic muscles. Prolene mesh, a popular brand of surgical mesh, has been linked to a number of dangerous complications. As a result, thousands of women who received Prolene mesh implants have filed lawsuits to recover compensation for their injuries.

Q. What is Prolene mesh and what is it used for?

Prolene mesh is a polypropylene (plastic) mesh implant used to support and stabilize the vaginal wall and pelvic floor. Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), created Prolene mesh primarily to treat two conditions that affect women: pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). POP is a condition in which a woman’s pelvic muscles become weakened, causing pelvic organs to slip out of place. SUI, on the other hand, is uncontrollable urine leakage caused by strenuous activities such as working out, coughing, and laughing. Both POP and SUI are often caused by weakened pelvic muscles due to child birth.

Q. What are the problems associated with Prolene mesh?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that transvaginal mesh injuries aren’t rare and can have serious health implications. Complications from Prolene mesh may include:

  • Infection
  • Mesh Erosion
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Scarring of the vagina
  • Punctured bladder or blood vessels
  • Urinary issues

The most common injury related to Prolene mesh is mesh erosion. The mesh implanted in the vaginal wall starts to erode and deteriorate. This deterioration often creates small sharp mesh fragments that can cause severe pain and perforate nearby organs. As a result, patients often must undergo multiple revision surgeries to remove the eroding Prolene mesh. Unfortunately, these surgeries can be extremely painful and complicated.

Q. Has there been a Prolene mesh recall?

There has not yet been a Prolene mesh recall. However, a Prolene mesh recall may occur in the future. That’s because in 2012, J&J pulled many of its polypropylene products off the market. This move was likely due to the high incidence of mesh erosion and implant failure among patients. In addition, a number of organizations, including the National Research Center for Women and Families, argue for the elimination of Prolene mesh due to lack of evidence supporting any benefit from receiving a transvaginal mesh implant.

Q. Have there been any lawsuits regarding Prolene mesh?

Although there has not been a Prolene mesh recall, there have been many transvaginal mesh lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson. There are approximately 7,000 transvaginal mesh-related cases against J&J in federal court alone. Many of these suits are over injuries caused by Prolene mesh.

Q. What are the legal claims related to Prolene mesh?

Many Prolene mesh patients have filed lawsuits against J&J to recover compensation for their medical costs, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Mesh injury lawsuits are commonly based on product liability law. Under product liability law, manufacturers and sellers have a duty to ensure that their products are free from any unexpected dangers or defects.  Consumers who are injured by a defective product can sue the manufacturer for compensation.

Doctors and health care professionals may also be liable for patient’s injuries under medical malpractice law. Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or medical professional’s treatment falls below the standard of care exercised in the profession. For example, a doctor may be liable for failing to warn patients about the known risks and dangers associated with Prolene mesh implants, or if the doctor incorrectly implanted the mesh.

Q. How can I start or join a lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is when a large group of individuals who have suffered similar injuries join together to sue the same defendant. In order for a class action to proceed, the class needs to be certified by the court. As of July 2013, no class has been certified for Prolene mesh victims. However, a class action lawsuit may be a possibility in the future.

Until then, women who have been injured by Prolene mesh can file an individual lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. Injured patients should consult with a product liability attorney to discuss their legal options.