Vaginal Mesh Erosion Symptoms – Pelvic Implant Lawsuits
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Did you see a TV commercial about transvaginal mesh lawsuits and start wondering if you might have a claim? I’ve worked personally with dozens of women who have had complications from their implanted surgical mesh, and I represent many of them in lawsuits filed against the pelvic mesh and sling manufacturers. Let me explain what symptoms should prompt you to call a lawyer.
The Ordinary Symptoms Of Transvaginal Mesh Implant Surgery
Any surgery to treat pelvic prolapse (“sacrocolpopexy,” typically for “cystocele” or “urethrocele”) or urinary incontinence (“tension-free vaginal tape (TVT)” or “urethral sling”) is a major, invasive procedure, and so will involve some symptoms afterwards, including bleeding or even infection. You should be able to urinate properly immediately; if not, that’s a sign the mesh or sling was installed improperly by your doctor.
Those post-operative symptoms should all go away within 6 weeks. They certainly shouldn’t go and then come back.
Symptoms Of Vaginal Mesh Erosion
Vaginal mesh lawyers look initially for when the problems began: if the patient had unexpected problems (like trouble urinating) within the first month of the implant, it is more likely the problems were caused by malpractice than by mesh erosion. If, instead, the problems began six weeks or later after the implant, then it makes it more likely that the mesh itself was the problem.
At our law firm, we look for two main types of complications to determine if vaginal mesh erosion was the problem:
- Diagnosed organ damage due to adhesions to the bladder or urethra, or due to perforations of the bowel. Interstitial cystitis and fistulas are common terms use, as areSometimes organ damage can be diagnosed if the patient had to be hospitalized after their mesh, tape or sling was implanted. Often, if organ damage has occurred, the patient’s treating doctor will recommend mesh removal, replacement or repair surgery, and sometimes tissue reconstruction surgery.
- Ongoing severe symptoms such as:
- the mesh eroding or sticking through the bladder, bowel or vagina,
- unexplained infection or recurring infections,
- pain during intercourse (“dyspareunia”)
- vaginal scarring, or erosion or sloughing of vaginal tissue,
- recurrence of vaginal prolapse, uterine prolapse, or,
- urinary problems like incontinence.
Vaginal wall erosion can be difficult to diagnose. Some of my clients have been told by their doctor they have erosion of the vaginal wall, others can literally feel the mesh with their hands (or their partner can feel it, painfully, during sexual intercourse), while others have been told by their doctor they do not have erosion, even while they continue to have the other symptoms.
It can be very hard even for doctors to diagnose vaginal wall erosion through just a physical examination. Consider what the authors of this medical study pointed out:
Patients who present with vaginal extrusion or urinary tract erosion may demonstrate a variety of symptoms, but they may be completely asymptomatic. Usual presenting symptoms include vaginal discharge, pain, dyspareunia, complaints of pain from the partner during intercourse, de novo stress urinary incontinence, urgency, hematuria or urinary tract infection or obstruction. In the experience of the authors, physical exam findings can usually identify extrusion of mesh components on pelvic exam. However, in cases of high suspicion without visualization of extruded mesh, exam under anesthesia may be necessary. It is of utmost importance to evaluate the urinary tract with cystourethroscopy to rule out erosion of material into the bladder or urethra, particularly if the patient presents with hematuria, recurrent urinary tract infections, irritative or obstructive symptoms, de novo urgency or bladder stones. In addition, we have noted from our own experience that over 30% of patients with vaginal extrusions required exam under anesthesia in order to adequately identify their extrusion sites, demonstrating the importance of a high index of suspicion for extrusion in those with clinical indications.
In other words, if you or your doctor can’t tell if your mesh is eroding through the vaginal wall through a simple physical examination, that might mean you need a cystourethroscopy examination under anesthesia. If you keep having blood in the urine, UTIs, or pain during intercourse, keep talking about it with your doctor, and don’t be shy to seek out a second opinion.
When Should I Call A Lawyer?
If you had transvaginal mesh, tape, or a sling implanted, and then suffered either organ damage or the severe symptoms identified above, you should call a lawyer. We’ve been helping injured patients and consumers for over fifty years — you can call us for a no-obligation, confidential consultation. We’ll listen to your story and review your medical records without asking you to pay anything or sign any sort of agreement.
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