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Hernia Mesh

Hernia repair is a standard procedure to fix a hernia, a weak area or hole in muscle or tissue that allows the intestine, fatty tissue, or an organ to protrude. More than a million such surgeries are performed every year in the US, mostly for inguinal hernias that occur in the inner groin. Over 90 percent of these operations involve hernia mesh. Unfortunately, some meshes have been linked to severe, painful, and dangerous complications.

Golblatt + Singer is accepting hernia mesh lawsuit cases for patients who experienced severe complications after hernia surgery and required revision surgery—or have been told revision surgery is necessary.

If you developed severe complications following a hernia operation, please call us at Goldblatt + Singer Law Firm the St. Louis Injury Law Firm (314) 888-1000, as you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys bring years of experience and a reputation for partnering with our clients to deliver results. We also offer the expertise, resources, and staff to thoroughly investigate your injuries to get you the compensation you deserve.

Hernia Treatment Options and Hernia Mesh

Typically there are two options for treating a hernia: watching the hernia, and surgery. A doctor may take the “watchful waiting” approach if the hernia isn’t causing serious complications or symptoms. They will check on the hernia periodically to ensure it isn’t getting bigger or causing issues, but it isn’t medically necessary to remove it. However, the patient may choose an elective procedure for cosmetic reasons or to prevent it from getting worse.

The only way to completely fix the hernia is with surgery. If your doctor deems it necessary or you choose to have it done as an elective procedure, there are two possible types of surgery, laparoscopic or open repair. In laparoscopic surgery, the doctor creates several small incisions and inserts surgical instruments into the abdomen to repair the hernia, usually by closing the hole or reinforcing the bulging area with mesh. This type of operation can be done with or without mesh, but in some cases, mesh simplifies the procedure and makes a laparoscopic approach possible.

An open repair usually involves a larger incision to expose the hernia. The surgeon then repairs the issue, again with or without mesh. Open repairs tend to take longer and have lengthened recovery times, so a laparoscopic approach is usually preferred by both the patient and the doctor. However, there are some situations where it isn’t a good option, and an open repair is necessary.

What is Hernia Mesh?

Hernia mesh is a medical device used to reinforce areas where the tissue is weakened from disease or injury. There are two main types of hernia mesh: synthetic and animal tissue-derived. Synthetics are somewhat more common, and polypropylene is the most popular material. The mesh may be knitted or non-knitted, and absorbable or non-absorbable. Absorbable material is meant to be a temporary reinforcement, and it will break down over time as healthy, new tissue replaces it. Non-absorbable material is expected to hold up and provide continuous reinforcement (a permanent implant).

Surgical mesh is available in three shapes for operations:

  • Patch. This is designed to “patch” a hole or weakened tissue area, covering it to prevent another hernia.
  • Plug. This mesh is meant to fit inside a hole, preventing a hernia recurrence.
  • Sheets. Mesh can also come in sheets, and the surgeon may cut it to fit the area that needs reinforcement.

In hernia surgery, all three of these types of mesh are intended to prevent hernia recurrence, which is very common and often leads to more surgery. The use of mesh may also reduce the time it takes to perform the operation by allowing a laparoscopic approach instead of an open one, which shortens the patient’s recovery time. Unfortunately, if the mesh is defective and causes problems of its own, you may need another operation for that reason.

Hernia Mesh Complications

All surgical procedures have risks, including hernia repair operations. Hernia mesh surgeries carry a number of risks specific to the procedure, including:

  • Infections
  • Mesh migration
  • Adhesion
  • Bowel perforation
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Recurring or severe pain
  • Fistulae
  • Mesh failure
  • Rejection
  • Hernia recurrence

Hernia Mesh Litigation

A 2016 study found that while the use of mesh reduced hernia recurrence, it simultaneously increased the risk of other complications within five years of the surgery, including bowel obstructions or perforations. Multiple lawsuits have been filed, mostly against hernia mesh manufacturers, for the following reasons:

By August 2022, more than 24,000 such suits had been filed in multiple state and federal courts against hernia mesh manufacturers, including Ethicon, Atrium Medical, and Davol/C. R. Bard. One large lawsuit was settled by C. R. Bard, with more than $184 million in damages paid to over 3,000 plaintiffs. Other cases are still pending. If you or a loved one suffered serious complications after a hernia repair with mesh, you may still be able to file a lawsuit or join a multi-district litigation already in progress.

Recalled Hernia Mesh

From 2005 to 2019, multiple companies voluntarily recalled hernia mesh products, mostly for mesh failure, punctured organs, hernia recurrence, and some other issues. The majority of these cases are categorized as Class 2 by the FDA, which means the recalled device could cause “temporary or medically reversible health conseuences.” But one device, C. R. Bard’s Kugel Patch, is categorized as Class 1, meaning that the device could cause “serious adverse health consequences or death.”

Did you have a hernia repair with one of these recalled meshes? Don’t expect to be notified. Your doctor may let you know, or they may not. The only way to be sure is to request your medical records.

How to Tell If You Suffered a Hernia Mesh Injury

Many patients have complications after hernia surgery, and your doctor may not inform you that the hernia mesh is to blame. Often people tell us that their surgeon didn’t offer any explanation except that complications do happen sometimes. Of course, it’s also true that some complications are not caused by defective hernia mesh. To be sure, you should request copies of your medical records and speak with a defective medical device attorney.

If you’ve had any of the following complications after a hernia repair and required another surgery, defective hernia mesh may have been the cause. Please contact us for a free consultation to learn more:

  • Adhesion. This is when the mesh becomes attached to internal organs or tissues, such as the intestines.
  • Pain. Unfortunately, recurrent abdominal pain from a hernia mesh issue is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Many patients tell us it was months or even years before a doctor figured out what was wrong and recommended a revision of the hernia repair.
  • Bowel obstruction. If the mesh adheres to the intestines, migrates to other areas of the abdomen, or perforates the intestines, it can cause an obstructed bowel. Often this is a life-threatening complication that requires surgery to repair the obstruction.
  • Infection. Although infections can occur for other reasons – such as exposure to pathogens in the hospital or unsanitary practices in the operating room – the surgical mesh may also cause chronic inflammation that leaves the patient susceptible to infection.
  • Mesh failure. Sometimes the mesh doesn’t do its job, and the hernia recurs, or the mesh causes chronic pain that eventually leads to a revision.
  • Migration. As we discussed earlier, non-absorbable mesh is supposed to stay put after surgery, supporting weakened tissue and blocking another hernia. In some situations, this non-absorbable falls apart anyway, and a piece may break off and migrate elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. This can also be a potentially life-threatening situation, as the migrating mesh could cause internal bleeding, organ damage, bowel obstructions, and more issues. Usually, the only solution is surgery to remove the migrated mesh.
  • Perforation. Yet another serious problem could happen when the mesh punctures nearby organs or tissues, causing pain, bleeding, and tissue damage.
  • Seroma. In some cases, fluid builds up around the mesh or the area that has been repaired, causing pain and other symptoms. This is called a seroma.
  • Revision surgery. Like the original surgery, revision surgery also carries a possibility of complications. However, in most cases, it is necessary to relieve the patient’s symptoms after a hernia mesh defect has caused problems.
  • Long-Term Complications. Unfortunately, even with revision surgery, some patients may develop permanent, chronic pain issues as the result of defective hernia mesh. Adhesions or hernia recurrences don’t have to happen right away, either – sometimes, they occur years after your initial surgery.
  • Groin pain. Some patients who have had inguinal hernia repairs find that they have a burning sensation or other unexplained pain in the groin. This may be due to pinched nerves related to defective hernia mesh.

Goldblatt + Singer Personal Injury Lawyers in St. Louis, MO

If you or someone you love has suffered complications from hernia mesh, please contact a Goldblatt + Singer attorney today for a free consultation at (314) 888-1000.

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