An Arkansas couple’s lawsuit against Boston Scientific for injuries allegedly caused by the company’s Tape Obtryx System demonstrates another potential risk posed by transvaginal mesh devices: inflammation triggered by the body’s rejection of the composites used to make the mesh device.
According to the lawsuit, Debra was implanted with the Boston Scientific transvaginal mesh device in December 2009 to correct problems associated with stress urinary incontinence (SUI), a condition generally brought about by age and childbirth and marked by weakened pelvic muscles. Women with SUI typically experience unexpected leaking whenever pressure is applied to the bladder from ordinary actions, such as laughing and sneezing.
However, instead of correcting her SUI, Debra’s Tape Obtryx mesh allegedly led to serious complications. Within a year of having the device implanted, Debra began to experience chronic infections and pain that she attributes to the transvaginal mesh eroding through her body’s tissue. Erosion of the mesh device also made sexual intercourse prohibitively painful, according to the lawsuit, a serious complication that may cause a loss of consortium for many transvaginal mesh patients and their partners.
According to the complaint brought against Boston Scientific by Debra and her husband Ronnie, Boston Scientific’s Tape Obtryx mesh is made of monofilament polypropylene – a biologically incompatible material that sets off a response in the body’s immune system, which can permanently inflame pelvic tissue and cause a multitude of serious complications. The plaintiffs assert that Boston Scientific knew of this problem when it made and marketed its Tape Obtryx mesh.
Unfortunately, removing transvaginal mesh from a patient isn’t always easy because it is designed to meld with surrounding tissue. Even partial removal of the mesh may require multiple surgeries and painful recoveries. For many women, surgery may only make the pain a little more manageable.
Transvaginal mesh lawsuits brought against Boston Scientific Corp. in federal courts have been combined into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) under Judge Joseph Goodwin in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Lawsuits against several other transvaginal mesh manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson / Ethicon, C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems, Coloplast, and Mentor have also been combined into separate MDLs under the same judge.