Canada’s concerns over the number of hernia mesh recalls continue to grow.
More and more patients have begun speaking out about their painful complications that have been linked to their hernia mesh, a surgical device designed to assist in repairing hernias.
After CTV News aired a story about the health problems associated with hernia mesh, patients across the country contacted the news source with stories of their own experiences.
One patient, Ivan Richardson, blames his hernia mesh for his constant, unexplained pain.
“You couldn’t even touch me, I would cry, I mean literally cry and I went to the doctor and they kept saying they couldn’t find nothing,” Richardson told CTV News.
When Richardson underwent abdominal surgery to have the surgical device inspected, the doctor was astonished at what he found. The flat plastic mesh had rolled up inside Richardson’s body.
The mesh was removed, but Richardson’s pain continues.
“It will feel like a bunch of little needles,” Richardson said. “I assume that is the edge of the plastic mesh. I’m scared to do anything anymore, really.”
According to Health Canada, 12 brands of hernia mesh have been recalled or removed from the market since 2000. Many of them were linked to infections and perforations, and 185 reports were found of serious injury, complications, and deaths.
Dr. John Morrison, president of the Canadian Health Society, says hernia mesh may be overused, particularly when mesh may not be required at all. Dr. Morrison regularly removes mesh that has shifted or punctured organs.
“I’ve seen pictures of it in the bladder, I’ve seen mesh in the stomach,” Morrison told CTV News. “The mesh can erode into other organs over a period of time.”
Dr. Morrison encourages patients who are in need of hernia surgery to ask the surgeon whether hernia mesh will be used or not, why the mesh would be used at all, and what type of hernia they have. Dr. Morrison also advises patients to educate themselves using all of the details gained.
“An educated patient is the number one thing that will solve this problem,” Morrison said.
In the U.S., Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon Inc. are facing a growing number of hernia mesh lawsuits from complications linked to the use of Physiomesh, a flexible mesh made of polypropylene designed to reinforce the abdominal wall and prevent more hernias from forming.