The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a non-departmental public health body of the U.K.’s Department of Health, is recommending that transvaginal mesh implants be banned for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse in England because the devices can cut into the vaginal wall and leave women in chronic pain and with permanent disabilities. At least one expert says that it is highly likely NICE’s call to action will spur the National Health Service (NHS) to take up the recommendation.
NICE said that there were “serious but well-recognized safety concerns” with vaginal mesh, and that “evidence of long-term efficacy (for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse) is inadequate in quality and quantity. … when complications occur, these can be serious and have life-changing consequences.”
Hundreds of women have claimed they suffered injuries from the mesh implant, including Margie Maguire, 41, who said the device left her unable to have children or walk without support. “I have chronic pelvic pain on a daily basis and I’m on nine different medications when I have a pain attack,” she told the Victoria Derbyshire program. “These can last from two to six hours at a time and is like having a heart attack.”
Kate Langley told the interviewer that she was hospitalized 53 times because of excruciating pain caused by the mesh. The device had protruded through her vagina and eroded so close to her nerve that doctors were unable to remove all the mesh.
Transvaginal mesh is made from a type of plastic called polypropylene, and is manufactured by several companies. The mesh is implanted to hold up organs including the vagina, uterus, bowel, bladder or urethra that have dropped due to age, weight gain, or childbirth. The devices have been linked to several injuries, some of which are permanent and debilitating. Thousands of women have sued the makers of the mesh alleging they were never warned of the serious risks they could cause.