Hernia Mesh Lawsuit – News and FAQs

Last updated March 10, 2017
 
 
 
You’re reading this page because you or someone you care about had a hernia mesh implant and developed complications. Was it medical malpractice? Was something wrong with the mesh? What can we do now? Do we have a case? What’s the difference between all of these lawyers on the Internet?
 
 
 
I hope the information below helps you. I’ll keep it updated as new information comes in. Before you read on, please do just one thing: remember the dates when you first noticed problems with the hernia mesh and when you were first diagnosed with a mesh complication. Every state has a “statute of limitations” for these types of lawsuits. In some states, you have to file a lawsuit within one year of the day on which you first realized you might have a claim. In these types of case, it’s not so simple as calling a lawyer and filing a lawsuit, because, even if you remember what type of mesh implant you had, the lawyer will need to get your medical records to identify the specific implant you received and its serial number, a process that can take months. Thus, if you’re considering filing a lawsuit, you might have to act soon.
 
 
 
Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about hernia mesh lawsuits. If you’re interested in filing a claim, we offer free, confidential consultations. We are currently filing lawsuits involving the Ethicon Physiomesh and the Atrium C-Qur. We are also reviewing cases involving Covidien Parietex, Covidien/Tyco Surgipro, and Bard Ventralex. Call my office toll-free at (844) 459-8719, email me at msk@thlawyer.com, or use the contact form at the bottom of the page.
 
 
 
Or read more about who I am. I’ve represented thousands of victims of defective medical devices. I’ve debated the issues on these cases on Capitol Hill, and I’m often called by the media to comment on cases like these. I’m frequently cited in law reviews, and the Journal of the American Bar Association has listed me as one of the top legal writers in the country every year since 2012.
 
 
 

Frequently asked questions:

  • Can You Sum Up What's Going On With Hernia Mesh Lawsuits?
  • Have Any Atrium C-Qur Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Been Filed?
  • Have Any Ethicon Physiomesh Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Been Filed?
  • Have There Been Any Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Settlements?
  • When Is Surgery Performed For A Hernia?
  • Why Do Doctors Use Mesh To Repair A Hernia?
  • What Kinds Of Mesh Are Used For Hernia Repairs?
  • Are The Coated / Composite Hernia Meshes Better Than Regular Meshes
  •  
     
     

    Can You Sum Up What's Going On With Hernia Mesh Lawsuits?

     
     
     
    Hernia repair is one of the most common surgeries in the country. For fifty years, surgeons have used implantable mesh to repair abdominal hernias, but those meshes typically use polypropylene. Polypropylene isn’t appropriate for permanent implantation, because it causes inflammation, adhesion, erosion, and infections. Medical device companies could have come up with better ways to make mesh, but, instead to dodge regulatory requirements for "premarket approval" (like new clinical trials) they instead coated the polypropylene. Ethicon used a polymer for its Physiomesh and Atrium used omega-3 for its C-Qur. These coatings have created their own problems. Ethicon has removed Physiomesh from the market and Atrium has been cited by the FDA multiple times for problems with its mesh.
     
     
     
    As a result of this negligence by Ethicon and Atrium, lawyers have been filing lawsuits against the companies for hernia mesh complications. The FDA recently published a new website discussing hernia surgical mesh implants, but it doesn’t seem the FDA is going to order any recalls, new warnings, or new studies. Although several years ago there was litigation over a different type of hernia mesh, and some of those cases settled, when it comes to these more recent products there have been no hernia mesh lawsuit settlements. Large medical device companies like Johnson & Johnson typically do not offer reasonable settlement amounts until the litigation has progressed much further along, such as after initial "bellwether" jury trials.
     
     
     

    Have Any Ethicon Physiomesh Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Been Filed? Have There Been Any Settlements?

     
     
     
    Several lawsuits have been filed in federal courts across the country, including in the federal courts in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts. We expect thousands more cases to be filed across the country, and then for a petition to consolidate to be filed with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. There have been no jury trials, nor reported settlements, for Ethicon Physiomesh hernia meshes. We do not expect any class action lawsuits to be filed.
     
     
     
    Given that the first Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits were filed in the summer of 2016, we expect that the jury trials will take place in early 2018.
     
     
     

    Have Any Atrium C-Qur Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Been Filed? Have There Been Any Settlements?

     
     
     
    There are currently 21 Atrium C-Qur lawsuits pending in federal courts, most of which are in the federal court for New Hampshire. On December 8, 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation “consolidated” the lawsuits in the federal court for New Hampshire, docketing the case as MDL No. 2753. That “consolidation” is the same process that was used for DePuy ASR hips, transvaginal meshes, and other defective medical device lawsuits. Consolidation is usually a good thing for injured plaintiffs, because it streamlines the litigation as a whole, and it makes it easier for lawyers from different law firms to work together for the benefit of everyone.
     
     
     
    There have been no jury trials, nor reported settlements, for Atrium C-Qur hernia meshes. We do not expect any class action lawsuits to be filed, which is a good thing. Class action lawsuits often taken control away from injured people over their own lawsuits, like the NFL brain damage class action did. In consolidated litigation, each injured plaintiff has control over their own case.
     
     
     

    When Is Surgery Performed For A Hernia?

     
     
     
    The standard treatment for any type of inguinal and femoral hernias is a surgical repair. Most hernias are “uncomplicated,” but even still a surgery is recommended, particularly if the hernia was recently diagnosed. Any complications with the hernia, like bowel obstruction or an “incarcerated” hernia need surgery urgently. The biggest issue for a surgeon usually isn’t whether to operate, but whether to use an open procedure or a laparoscopic repair, both of which have similar rates of complications. Laparoscopic procedures produce less trauma on the abdomen but they require the use of a mesh. Typically, inguinal hernias and femoral hernias will be repaired laparoscopically unless the patient previously had a surgeon in the preperitoneal area, like a cesarean section, a hysterectomy, or a prostatectomy.
     
     
     

    Why Do Doctors Use Mesh To Repair A Hernia?

     
     
     
    Most surgeons use mesh because the repair can be done without putting tension on the tissue, which in turn reduces the likelihood of a hernia recurrence. Some studies, most of which are funded by mesh manufacturers, suggest that half of all hernia repairs without mesh fail, while only 20 percent of mesh repairs fail. Thus, mesh is typically used unless a patient has an active infection or sepsis.
     
     
     
    There are four main types of hernia repair surgeries:

    • Laparoscopic extraperitoneal repair
    • Laparoscopic transabdominal preperitoneal patch repair
    • Open tension-free mesh repair
    • Open primary tissue approximation repair

    The first three types all require mesh. The last type, the open tissue approximation, is usually described by the particular surgical technique: Shouldice, Bassini, or McVay. The Shouldice procedure, named after the hospital in Canada where it was developed, is particularly interesting because many doctors believe that it does not put tension on the tissue. This reduces the likelihood of bowel complications, pain in the abdomen, tissue perforation, and blood loss.
     
     
     

    What Kinds Of Mesh Are Used For Hernia Repairs?

     
     
     
    There are two main types of hernia meshes: biologic tissue and synthetic meshes. The biologic tissues are derived from human or animal tissue (typically pig, cow, or horse) that has been washed to remove all cellular debris while leaving connective tissue. The synthetic meshes are made from either polypropylene or polytetrafluoroethylene. That’s the same polypropylene that has caused so many problems in the transvaginal mesh lawsuits, causing tens of thousands of women to suffer permanent complications from mesh erosion and infection. Mesh migration and mesh erosion are so common that removal techniques are regularly discussed in the medical literature, like in this 2014 article or this 2016 article. You may recall seeing television commercials nearly ten years ago for hernia mesh lawyers; those involved the Kugel and Davol meshes, which aren't part of this litigation.
     
     
     
    Although polypropylene meshes have been used since 1959, when the “Marlex” mesh was introduced, polypropylene is not fit for implantation in humans. Even the “MSDS” warning label on bulk polypropylene supplies specifically instructs companies to not use it for permanent implantation in humans. If the medical companies wanted to do the right thing, they would have used other compounds in new clinical trials. Instead, they wanted to be cheap, so they created “composite mesh” that includes a chemical coating. These “composite” meshes can use FDA’s “501(k)” loophole that allows companies to put new medical devices on the market by claiming they are similar to medical devices that are already on the market.
     
     
     

    Are The Coated / Composite Hernia Meshes Better Than Regular Meshes?

     
     
     
    The idea behind composite meshes was to prevent adhesion and erosion by adding a protective layer to the mesh. This wasn’t a very scientific or original concept: it’s no different from spraying WD-40 on a door hinge to keep it from sticking. Medical researchers showed years ago that this strategy wouldn’t work. For example, a 2009 study showed that, although composite meshes could “reduce adhesion formation to intraperitoneal mesh in the short term, … the effect diminishes and phagocytosis of absorbable coatings may contribute to adhesion formation.” (Emphasis added.) By causing more adhesions, these meshes are more likely to cause organ damage, including bowel perforation, blood loss, infection, fistulas, groin pain, allergic reactions, and other complications. Composite mesh for abdominal surgery and for hernias is thus more dangerous than regular mesh.
     
     
     
    Ethicon’s Physiomesh mesh used a “double-sided poliglecaprone 25 polymer coating.” A study in 2000 showed that poliglecaprone 25 coatings were absorbed in rat skin in less than 3 months. Once it’s absorbed, there’s nothing to prevent the polypropylene from causing the same problems as before, and the additional chemicals can make the problems worse. As a study in 2014 found, “Fractioning of the Physiomesh® coating over time led to an increase in interfilamentary granuloma formation, leading to scar plate formation.” In May 2016, Ethicon issued a voluntary recall of the Physiomesh.
     
     
     
    Atrium’s C-Qur mesh used an omega 3 fatty acid coating, based on the assumption that omega-3 acids would reduce the inflammatory response. As a study in 2013 found, the C-Qur didn’t actually reduce the formation of adhesions and the incorporation strength was lower, leading the authors to suggest that C-Qur meshes require “extra fixation.” Worse, Atrium has been plagued by problems at its facilities, prompting FDA warnings, package recalls, and an injunction.
     
     
     

    For a confidential, no-obligation consultation about a hernia mesh lawsuit, call (215) 948-2718 or toll-free (844) 459-8719, email me at msk@thlawyer.com, or use the contact form below.

    My name is:

    My email is:

    My phone number is:

    I need a lawyer because: