Surgical mesh causing problems for hernia patients
Surgical mesh has come into the spotlight in recent years, linked to serious complications in women who received the device following surgery to repair certain pelvic floor disorders. But one doctor says the mesh may cause problems in other areas as well.
“It honestly ruins lives,” Dr. Kevin Peterson, a surgeon in Las Vegas, told KTVU. “I believe they’re injuring patients.”
Dr. Peterson has performed several surgeries where he has removed surgical mesh from hernia patients because the mesh had shrunk and resulted in chronic excruciating pain. The only cure for this is mesh removal, which can take more than one surgery.
“When scar tissue builds up around it, (the mesh) shrinks. When it shrinks, it pulls on those tacks causing horrible pain,” Dr. Peterson said.
Much debate has surrounded the use of surgical mesh, in particular with its use in pelvic floor disorders in women, such as pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. For these disorders, the mesh is implanted transvaginally to shore up organs that have dropped or prolapsed, which can cause incontinence, discomfort and painful sex.
However, complications with the mesh used for these conditions, and in particular with pelvic organ prolapse, led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to launch an investigation into the mesh. The agency ultimately warned that serious complications could result with use of surgical mesh for pelvic organ prolapse as a result of the mesh eroding into the surrounding tissue. This can cause incontinence, pain and disability. Relief can only be found through surgery, and often multiple surgeries are needed to completely remove the mesh.
The FDA has not issued any warnings on the use of surgical mesh in the repair of hernias.