Operation
Victoria Stevenson

Surgical Mesh Claims

What is surgical mesh?

Surgical mesh is a medical device made from synthetic materials.  It is used to support weakened tissues and has been used for many years in surgery.

What types of surgery is mesh being used in?

The mesh is used in a wide variety of situations including hernia repair, and the treatment of women who have a weak bladder or pelvic prolapse – both conditions can be problematic after childbirth.  Mesh may also be used as part of the treatment for hysterectomy, obesity and also some cancers relating to pelvic organs.

Two areas in which it is more commonly used are:

  • Vaginal mesh implants – where, as an alternative to invasive surgery, a mesh will be inserted into the pelvis and tissue grows over it.  In some cases, transvaginal tape (TVT) is used instead , or as well as, mesh implants
  • Hernia mesh implants – where mesh is used to strengthen an area which has been repaired to reduce the possibility of the condition re-occurring.

What problems could there be with mesh implants?

Many mesh implants go without any issues and make a big difference to the lives of those who receive them.

In some cases, however, problems have occurred with patients who have received a mesh implant, where the mesh has been ‘rejected’ by the body.  The symptoms of this rejection could include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling at the site of the surgery
  • Redness and irritation at the site of surgery
  • Fever

In some cases, where a mesh becomes detached, it can lead to abscesses and bowled obstructions, causing the need for further surgery.

In addition, problems with the mesh can add to or cause emotional stress and anxiety.

Has the Government done anything about it?

The Government launched a review into the problems with mesh surgery and two other medicines.  The review reported in 2020 and concluded that there were issues with mesh implants and TVT, and that some of the surgeries had been performed ignoring the health watchdog’s (NICE) advice that it should only be performed by experienced surgeons.  The report concluded that people had been let down by the  system from the NHS to the manufacturers of the materials themselves.  In July 2020, Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued an apology on behalf of the NHS for the problems caused.

Do the problems affect a large number of people?

Some of the research says that one in eleven women who received a mesh implant have had problems with it, and it is estimated that between 2007 and 2015 more than 92,000 women received a vaginal mesh implant alone (BBC News).

What should I do if I have had problems with a mesh implant?

If you have had a mesh implant of any type, and are having problems you should consult your GP, who will be able to investigate and recommend any medical action required.

Get in touch with our personal injury claims solicitors

In addition, you may want to speak to our Personal Injury team who can advise you on whether there is a possibility that you may be able to make a claim for compensation for any additional pain and suffering.  Whether you have a claim will depend on your particular situation including your medical history, the procedure itself and a number of other factors.