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Hernia Mesh Failure Causes Dangerous Side Effects

By Jason Bottlinger on December 26, 2018

Hernia mesh implants have been a popular way for surgeons to fix hernias for many years now. But hernia mesh repairs have been known to bring about a lot of unwanted side effects, some of them life-threatening. These complications are especially common with certain types of mesh. In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a class I recall (the most serious type) on counterfeit surgical mesh.

After undergoing a hernia repair surgery, you should become familiar with potential complications so that you know what to look out for and when to seek medical treatment.

A hernia mesh revision surgery (also called a hernioplasty) is painful, time-consuming, and costly. If you or a loved one had to receive a second surgery to fix a defective hernia mesh, you should seek legal counsel because you might be entitled to financial compensation for your suffering. Contact Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 to discuss your case. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Let our Omaha personal injury attorney help you get the compensation you deserve.

How Is a Hernia Repaired?

A hernia takes place when an organ or fatty tissue emerges through a weakened spot in the surrounding tissue (the fascia) or muscle. The most common types of hernia are:

  • Inguinal: inner groin.
  • Femoral: outer groin.
  • Umbilical: belly button.
  • Incisional: resulting from an incision.
  • Hiatal: upper stomach.

While some hernias are treated non-surgically, many have to be operated on. During surgery, most doctors use surgical mesh to strengthen the hernia repair. Surgical mesh is made out of synthetic material or animal tissue and provides extra support on top of the weak tissue.

As stated by the FDA, “Hernias have a high rate of recurrence, and surgeons often use surgical mesh to strengthen the hernia repair and reduce the rate of recurrence. Since the 1980s, there has been an increase in mesh-based hernia repairs—by 2000, non-mesh repairs represented less than 10% of groin hernia repair techniques.”

So essentially the mesh is a double-edged sword, because while it reduces the chances of a hernia recurrence, it can increase the chances for complications.

What Are Common Hernia Mesh Complications?

Every surgery carries some form of risk with it, especially when it involves implanting a foreign object into a human body. Many patients who have undergone hernioplasty have suffered serious complications, especially when the mesh is badly designed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t become apparent to doctors or the public until the mesh has already been implemented in thousands of patients and problems start cropping up.

When a defective mesh is implanted in a patient, it can result in a host of unnecessary complications and follow-up surgeries to fix the problem. These are some common hernia mesh complications:

  • Infection: This is a common complication caused by a bad reaction with the mesh or a weakened immune system. It can be treated with antibiotics, but often requires another surgery to remove the mesh and prevent future infections.
  • Adhesions: It’s not uncommon for adhesions (scar tissue) to emerge around the implant site. When that happens, serious complications can follow, such as organs growing together and not functioning properly.
  • Bowel obstruction: This complication can occur when scar tissue builds around the implant site and blocks the bowels. The only way to fix a bowel obstruction is by removing it surgically.
  • Bowel perforation: Sometimes the mesh can pierce the colon or small intestine, which may lead to fecal matter leaking into the rest of the body and causing a major infection. Bowel perforation can only be fixed with a surgery, but the damage it causes can be permanent.
  • Chronic pain: Chronic pain has been reported in a high percentage of hernia mesh surgery patients. It may be a sign of another complication, but sometimes it’s harder to pinpoint the reason for it.
  • Mesh migration: Mesh can migrate, especially if it’s not secured properly or it starts eroding. A migrated mesh can cause a host of issues, such as organ perforation and infection.

A defective mesh can also lead to permanent or long-term liver or kidney problems, autoimmune disorders, nerve damage, and bleeding.

When to See a Doctor

Because hernia mesh repair has so many potential complications, it can be confusing to know when to seek medical attention. A general rule of thumb is to get help if you feel pain and discomfort for a prolonged period of time after surgery.

Here are some potential indicators that it’s time to see a doctor.

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding (such as bloody urine)
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Redness or increased temperature at the surgical site

When to Contact a Hernia Mesh Attorney

If you’re experiencing dangerous symptoms after undergoing a hernia mesh repair, get medical treatment as soon as possible. After you receive treatment, it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Bottlinger Law L.L.C. has handled hernia repair lawsuits, and we know which implants have a high rate of failure. Suffering from an infection, or having another surgery to fix an issue caused by a faulty mesh, is a stressful and costly ordeal. It means you have to take time off work, get help from family or friends while you recover, and suffer from physical pain associated with mesh complications and surgery.

Hernia mesh manufacturers must be held accountable for their irresponsible products. You shouldn’t have to deal with medical bills and a lengthy recovery on your own. We will go to work to get you the maximum compensation available. Call our Omaha hernia mesh claim lawyer at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation.

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Posted in: Product Liability

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Our legal team is ready to help. Please fill out the form below to set up a free consultation with attorney Jason Bottlinger.