Barbara Campbell, 37, was in tears when she met with a new doctor to explain the problems she was experiencing. Severe pelvic pain was keeping her from playing with her kids, doing housework, even being intimate with her husband. The problem started shortly after she had surgery to repair a pelvic floor disorder known as pelvic organ prolapse, or POP, a condition that occurs when the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, rectum or uterus bulge or descend into and sometimes past the opening of the vagina. This common problem is generally caused by childbirth, age or obesity.
POP is generally repaired with surgical mesh that implanted transvaginally. An estimated 75,000 women last year alone had surgeries in which transvaginal mesh was implanted. However, many women began to experience problems, such as the mesh eroding, pain and urinary incontinence. Some cases required hospitalizations and even more surgery, and some injuries sustained are permanent. Some women have filed lawsuits alleging these problems were caused by the surgical mesh.
Barbara says her problems began within a week after surgery. Complications sent her back into the hospital, and two months after her operation she says the doctor could feel the mesh eroding into her vagina.
From January 2008 to December 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 1,500 reports of complications associated with the devices, which led the FDA in July to issue a warning to doctors and patients that transvaginal mesh may cause serious harm. This week, the FDA is reviewing the safety of the products amid cries from advocacy groups urging the agency to ban the devices. A recommendation from the FDA is expected later this week.