Because transvaginal mesh is designed to become incorporated with surrounding tissue, removing the device after it has been surgically implanted to correct pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary continence (SUI) can be extremely difficult, and in some cases impossible. That is why a group of Winnipeg residents have banded together to send a 49-year-old mother of four from Canada to California to undergo surgery to remove the mesh that that is literally tearing her apart inside.
Christine Asprey was implanted with transvaginal mesh after receiving a hysterectomy in January 2012. Her surgeon implanted the device to repair her prolapsed bladder and mitigate incontinence. But instead of helping, the mesh has crippled Ms. Asprey, turning her life into “hell on Earth.”
Ms. Asprey told the Winnipeg Free Press that the transvaginal mesh device causes her so much intense and inconsolable pain that she sometimes prays to die.
“It’s like a cheese grater; every time I move it’s taking pieces of tissue off,” Ms. Asprey told the Winnipeg Free Press. The device, she claims, “has caused her infections, excruciating hip and leg pain, neuromuscular pain, vaginal burning and pain, and emotional pain,” the Winnipeg Free Press reports.
The complications started just three weeks after Ms. Asprey had the mesh implanted, starting with trouble urinating and pain that affected the left side of her body. By October 2012, Ms. Asprey was unable to walk. The debilitating injuries caused her to lose her job, her ability to sit, drive, or have any semblance of a normal life.
“It’s like I died Jan. 10 of 2012,” Ms. Asprey told the Winnipeg Free Press.
Desperate for relief, Ms. Aprey hopes to undergo specialized mesh removal surgery at the University of California Los Angeles. The cost of the surgery, which wouldn’t be covered under Canada’s health care system, is about $30,000 U.S.
Hundreds of women across Canada are suing manufacturers of transvaginal mesh over injuries they allege are caused by the device eroding into the vaginal wall, dislocating, or falling apart. Thousands more women in the United States have filed claims against transvaginal mesh makers for the same reasons.
In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about transvaginal mesh devices, saying that “serious complications” caused by the devices “are not rare.”
“From 2008 to 2010, the most frequent complications reported to the FDA from the use of surgical mesh devices for POP repair included vaginal mesh erosion (also called exposure, extrusion or protrusion), pain (including painful sexual intercourse known as dyspareunia), infection, urinary problems, bleeding, and organ perforation. There were also reports of recurrent prolapse, neuro-muscular problems, vaginal scarring/shrinkage and emotional problems,” the FDA communication stated.