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Hernia Mesh Injury

Hernia mesh is a mesh-like substrate which is implanted during a surgical procedure to stabilize abdominal tissue for hernia repair. Many patients who have been implanted with hernia mesh may have serious post-surgical complications, some of which may take years to become evident but may also be fatal.

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  • Hernia Repair Surgery
  • Types of Hernia Mesh
  • Hernia Mesh and the FDA

Surgical mesh has been in use for decades and is currently used as hernia mesh in hundreds of thousands of hernia repair procedures each year in the U.S. Hernia mesh may help to provide stability after a hernia, while the abdominal tissue is recovering from injury and surgical repair. Unfortunately, many patients who have been implanted with hernia mesh may have serious post-surgical complications, some of which may take years to become evident but may also be fatal.

Injuries associated with hernia mesh products include:

  • Abdominal infection
  • Severe pain
  • Mesh migration
  • Tissue erosion
  • Bowel adhesion
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Intestinal or organ perforation
  • Hernia recurrence

In most cases, patients who experience serious side effects or develop complications after receiving a hernia mesh implant, will require revision surgery to remove the mesh and repair additional damage. Some patients may require multiple surgeries, each of which poses additional risk of infection, pain and increased recovery time.

Manufacturer Hernia Mesh Product  
Atrium Prolite Polypropylene Mesh
C-QUR
C-QUR Mosaic
C-QUR TacShield
C-QUR Edge
C-QUR Lite Mesh V-Patch
C-QUR Mesh V-Patch
Bard 3D Max Mesh
Bard (Marlex) Mesh Dart
Composix L/P
Composix E/X
Kugel Hernia Patch
Modified Kugel Hernia Patch
Sepramesh IP
Seprma-Tex
Visilex
3D Light Mesh
AlloMax Surgical Graft
Bard Mesh
Bard Mesh PreShaped
Dulex Mesh
PerFix Light Plug
PerFix Plug
Ventralight
Ventralex Hernia Patch
Ventralex ST Patch
Ventralight ST Patch
Ventrio ST
Ventrio Patch
Composix
Composix Kugel Hernia Patch
Marlex
Covidien Parietex Composite Dual Facing Mesh  
Ethicon PROLENE 3D Patch Polypropylene Mesh
PROLENE Polypropylene Hernia System
ULTRAPRO COMFORT PLUG
ULTRAPRO Hernia System
PROLENE Soft Polypropylene Mesh
Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh

ULTRAPRO Plug
PROLENE Polypropylene Mesh
ULTRAPRO Partially Absorbable Lightweight Mesh
PROCEED Surgical Mesh
PROCEED Ventral Patch
Gore-Tex Gore-Tex
Gore Bio-A Hernia Plug
Gore Dualmesh Biomaterial
Gore Dualmesh Plus Biomaterial
Medtronic Duatene Bilayer Mesh
Parietene DS Composite Mesh
Versatex Monofilament Mesh
Symbotex Composite Mesh
Parietex Flat Sheet Mesh
Parietex Plug and Patch System
Parietex Lightweight Monofilament Mesh

Hernia Repair Surgery

Hernia is a condition which develops due to a defect or split in fibers of the trunk muscles. The split may allow internal organs to protrude or bulge through the muscle layer which can pose a serious risk. People who develop abdominal or inguinal (groin) hernia may experience severe pain and are at risk of internal organ damage. Hernia repair is an urgent medical condition and, in some cases, may be considered an emergency.

Whether it occurs in the abdominal or inguinal (groin) area, a hernia may require surgical repair to reposition any protruding tissue or organ and to close the split which allowed for the prolapse. In some cases, hernia repair can be done with simple sutures but up to 90% of hernia repair procedures are currently performed using surgical mesh.

Types of Hernia Mesh

Surgical mesh products used in hernia repair are constructed of synthetic polymers, similar to plastic and may be combined with natural or animal tissue as a “composite”. In some cases, mesh may be “absorbable” and will dissolve over time as it is replaced with new tissue, but most hernia mesh products are “non-absorbable” and intended to be left in place, with new tissue growing around the mesh.

Components, particularly when natural tissue is used, may produce an allergic response or immune reaction which may lead to formation of scar tissue and adhesion of abdominal tissue to one or more organs such as the intestines. In other cases, the body may reject a mesh implant due to immune response and cause the mesh to erode tissue and migrate through the abdominal wall or perforate, impede or injure other organs such as the intestines.

Polypropylene, a synthetic polymer which is commonly used in and forms the foundation of most hernia mesh, may degrade over time. This degradation can result in mesh shrinkage which causes irritation, pain and inflammation. Over time, degradation of the polymer can increase the chance of hernia mesh injury.

Hernia Mesh and the FDA

The use of surgical mesh in hernia repairs began after the discovery of synthetic polymers in about 1935. By 1979 when the first laparoscopic hernia repair was performed, both procedures and surgical mesh itself had undergone several changes. Since the 1980s, surgical mesh used for hernia repair is generally marketed as “hernia mesh”, designed to be used in repair of abdominal or inguinal hernia. Similar products constructed of surgical mesh are used in other reconstruction or repair procedures such as transvaginal mesh used in surgical correction for pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence.

Each type of surgical mesh is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration under the medical device division. Hernia mesh is categorized as a Class II medical device, indicating its use may pose a moderate risk of harm but often allows for marketing of products without requiring clinical testing in humans under the FDA’s 510(k) fast-track process. Manufacturers may be allowed to claim that new mesh products are similar to products already on the market and do not require testing.

There are multiple manufacturers of hernia mesh, several of which have been subject to FDA recalls.

  • In 2005, 2006 and 2007, separate FDA recalls were issued for C.R. Bard’s Kugel hernia mesh due to breakage and degradation concerns which could result in bowel perforation or fistula.
  • In 2012, Atrium’s C-QUR hernia mesh was the subject of FDA warning letter, recall and a lawsuit after the company was found to have failed to address manufacturing safety concerns.
  • In 2016, Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, was forced to recall one product from the Physiomesh line due to a high number of adverse events and higher than expected hernia recurrence rate. The company withdrew the product outside of the U.S. but have continued to market Physiomesh Open Flexible Composite Mesh in the U.S.
FDA recalls issue

In 2005, 2006 and 2007, separate FDA recalls were issued for C.R. Bard’s Kugel hernia mesh due to breakage and degradation concerns which could result in bowel perforation or fistula.

FDA warning letter

In 2012, Atrium’s C-QUR hernia mesh was the subject of FDA warning letter, recall and a lawsuit after the company was found to have failed to address manufacturing safety concerns.

Product adverse withdrew

In 2016, Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, was forced to recall one product from the Physiomesh line due to a high number of adverse events and higher than expected hernia recurrence rate. The company withdrew the product outside of the U.S. but have continued to market Physiomesh Open Flexible Composite Mesh in the U.S.

More than 50,000 hernia mesh lawsuits are estimated to be pending in federal, state and local courts. People or family members of those who were injured after receiving a hernia mesh product, should seek legal advice.

Complications Associated with Hernia Mesh

Hernia surgical mesh has been used in 50 to 90% of all hernia repair surgeries and though it was once thought to be highly effective, it has caused complications in thousands of patients and is no longer as popular as it once was.

In some cases, the side effects or complications due to hernia mesh have resulted in permanent injury or even death. According to the FDA, the most common complications associated with hernia mesh include:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Hernia recurrence
  • Scar tissue
  • Bleeding
  • Fistula
  • Organ perforation
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Adhesion
  • Mesh migration
  • Mesh shrinkage

Due to high rates of complications, some hernia or surgical mesh products have already been recalled from the market. Several popular mesh products were the subject of FDA safety notifications and had to be recalled from the market due to injuries, complications or deaths, however others remain in use.

Many surgical and hernia mesh products were approved through the FDA 501(k) program. This pathway to approval is a short-cut method which allows medical device manufacturers to skip costly clinical trials by claiming their new product is substantially similar to other products already on the market. As a result, many hernia mesh products were never tested in humans and may have put patients at unnecessary risk.

Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Claims and Legal Information

According to a 2015 study published in the medical journal BMJ, despite the FDA warnings, use of mesh continues to grow. The statewide study assessed mesh procedures and found them to be associated with an increased risk of re-interventions within one year and urinary retention after surgery. The study also found patients undergoing mesh-based surgery were at increased risk of urinary retention after surgery and those aged 65 and older faced an even higher risk of complications.

Patients or loved ones of those who were injured, required revision surgery or who died due to hernia mesh complications might be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturer of their device.

Hundreds of lawsuits have already been filed concerning Bard hernia mesh, Ethicon Physiomesh and Atrium C-QUR hernia mesh products. Complications named in hernia mesh lawsuits include:

  • Revision surgery
  • Recurrence of a hernia
  • Removal of the mesh
  • Abdominal and bowel adhesion
  • Infection
  • Formation of a mass / lump / bulge
  • Intestinal complications
  • Chronic pain

Those injured by mesh products could be eligible to receive compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering or other damages and should seek legal advice.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.

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