Although several different types of mesh products are available for use in surgeries, the mesh most commonly employed by surgeons is a sterile, woven material made from a synthetic plastic-like material, such as polypropylene. It functions either as a patch that goes over or under the affected area or it is used as a plug that goes inside the hole. A hernia mesh is very thin yet it is extremely sturdy and strong. The soft texture and flexibility of the mesh is able to conform to a body’s size, position, and movement. However such a mesh is typically used in tension-free and laparoscopic tension-free hernia procedures.
The pharmaceutical companies responsible for manufacturing of hernia mesh products have marketed their products as new and innovative devices that would be safer and more effective. However, this big pharma funded research lacked many critical components needed to prove the effectiveness of the hernia mesh such as; determining the period of observation, including the number of revision surgeries patients undergo after receiving a hernia mesh implant. The research also failed to adequately describe the normal complications that could potentially occur during such a procedure.
The common complications associated with use of hernia mesh are pain, bleeding, infection, hernia recurrence, adhesions, scar tissue complications, shrinkage of mesh, fistulas, abnormal connections between organs, seroma, fluid build-up at the surgical site, bowel or intestinal blockage, organ perforations, nerve damage, autoimmune reaction to mesh, mesh migration and mesh rejection.
Mesh manufacturers such as C.R. Bard, Ethicon, Atrium, and others are currently being sued by people who claim that they have released “defective” and “unreasonably dangerous” products into the medical marketplace without adequately alerting patients or doctors about the potential side effects that the mesh may have. It has also been alleged that because of the companies’ actions, they should be held liable for any harm or injuries that patients who have had mesh implants may sustain. The plaintiffs are seeking monetary compensation for the cost incurred due to needing revision surgery, attending doctor visits, and being away from work.
According to some sources, the newer mesh products have been manufactured differently from the original design of the mesh used in the medical setting for about 50 years. It was claimed by the manufacturers that the new design was an easier alternative to the traditional mesh, however the new design did not contribute to the safety of the product rather it made them more defective.
At this point, it is not known if the manufacturers or the doctors knew about the potential hazards of using hernia mesh. However, what is known is that the manufacturers did not conduct thorough testing and research in utilizing these products prior to marketing them. Therefore the safety of using such products in a surgical setting was an ambiguous proposition at best.
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