Women who have received a transvaginal mesh implant might experience one of a number of serious side effects related to mesh failure.
Erosion occurs when the mesh protrudes through the tissues of the body. Women might experience pain in urination and intercourse, infection, bleeding, and urinary problems. In some instances, organs will perforate the vaginal wall, which is the condition that the mesh was intended to fix.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a 2011 report that these complications are, in fact, “not rare.” It also said that mesh does not appear to provide any benefits over non-mesh treatments, and that those benefits might not outweigh the risks, pain, and suffering associated with mesh failure.
The FDA is considering changing the status of transvaginal mesh from a Class II to a Class III device, which would require a greater degree of regulatory scrutiny.
The Dangers of Mesh
Transvaginal mesh poses unique risks because it is not inert, which means it reacts with the real tissues in the body. Transvaginal mesh failure occurs when the mesh fails to bind to a woman’s pelvic tissues, and moves through the tissues, becoming imbedded in the wrong places. As a result, the transvaginal mesh may start to poke its way through the vaginal wall and protrude out of the vaginal tissue. This complication is more commonly referred to as “erosion.”
About 10% of women who have received transvaginal mesh will experience mesh erosion within a year after surgery, according to estimates.
In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration noted 1,105 reported possible problems with transvaginal mesh. According to a 2011 FDA report, there were another 2,874 reports of problems between 2008 and 2011. Serious complications associated with surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse are not are, according to the report.
Women who experience mesh failure might require numerous corrective surgeries, IV treatment, and the drainage or hematomas or abscesses. Corrective surgery is complicated and painful because the mesh is meant to be permanent and is therefore difficult to remove because it melds with real tissue.