Hernia patch and other mesh implants pose problems

We live in a time when ultramodern technology permeates every aspect of our lives at blistering speeds. Nearly every day we hear of yet another advancement that promises to better our lives in some way. Medicine and medical technologies, such as the Kugel Mesh Patch used to treat hernias, stand on the forefront of medicine’s quantum push forward. Manufactured by Devol, Inc., the Kugel Mesh Patch consists of a circle or oval of mesh that is surrounded by a plastic ring. The device is engineered and folded so that it may be surgically inserted into a small incision. Once in place, the patch unfolds and expands and the abdominal wall is reinforced.

If all goes well, the patient may consider his hernia fixed and go about living life normally. For many patients, however, the medical miracle goes awry. The plastic “memory recoil ring” sometimes fractures, causing bowel perforations or abnormal connections between the intestines and other organs known as fistulae. The damage not only causes severe pain, it can also lead to additional medical complications and death.

While the Kugel Mesh Patches have been recalled, doctors are finding other problems arising from medical mesh devices and implants. Boston Scientific manufactures aortic and carotid stents with mesh, but the surgical insertion tip sometimes detaches during surgery. The FDA requested a recall of the company’s defective stents and stent delivery system.

Mesh is also a component in a couple products that are used in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. Specifically, Mentor Corporation’s ObTape may disintegrate inside the body and lead to a multitude of adverse events.

The FDA advises patients to seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms that could be associated with any of the recalled hernia patch devices. Ring breakage can cause inexplicable and / or persistent abdominal pain, fever, tenderness at the implant site and any other unusual symptoms.