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Medical Diagnosis

TransVaginal Mesh Erosion & Hardening

transvaginal-mesh-erosion-hardeningTransVaginal Mesh erosion & hardening can be physically and emotionally draining.

Surgical mesh has been in widespread use since the 1950s when it became popular in hernia repair surgery. More recently, mesh has been used to treat women suffering from stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapse (POP).  During the surgery, TransVaginal Mesh is inserted through incisions in the vagina. The mesh itself resembles a flexible patch of screen, is made of plastic-like materials, and is meant to support weakened areas in the body.

TransVaginal Mesh surgery is one of the most popular procedures performed on women who have had children or gained weight. Although there have been many successful TransVaginal Mesh procedures performed, the mesh itself has been linked to a number of serious and painful complications. Below, you’ll find information about the symptoms and diagnosis of a common complication known as “TransVaginal mesh hardening.”

A primary default in this screen-like mesh is that it can, over time, reduce in its strength and become fragmented, hardening and then breaking into microscopic shards that can actually penetrate the surrounding tissues. When the mesh hardens and then erodes, the shards can cause severe complications in the surrounding soft tissues, the nearby organs, and have been linked to vaginal complications, tissue tears, organ perforation and a number of other medical complications.

What Is Mesh Hardening?

A number of manufacturers produce TransVaginal Mesh devices. The plastic materials these devices are made of can often become hard and brittle after surgery. As a result, the hardened mesh can break apart into sharp mesh fragments that cut surrounding tissue and perforate nearby organs. When mesh abnormally hardens, especially in the vaginal walls where muscles constantly expand and contract, pain, infection, tissue destruction, and nerve damage.

The mesh is attached to the vaginal walls via a surgical method, and certain makers have been linked to higher instances of failure. When the mesh hardens, it can break down into shards that can be compared to that of broken glass. These spiked shards can perforate surrounding tissues and organs, causing infections and a variety other symptom and conditions.

Associated Symptoms of TransVaginal Mesh Erosion & Hardening:

  • Pain in the vagina and pelvic regions
  • Pain while having sex
  • Pain when urinating
  • Abnormal discharge from vagina
  • Vaginal, rectal or bladder bleeding
  • Frequent infections in vagina and urinary tract

How Is Mesh Hardening Diagnosed?

If you are experiencing the symptoms of mesh complications, you should review your medical records to determine the type and brand of TransVaginal Mesh you’ve received. Some types of mesh have higher failure rates than others. Due to the reported complications, several manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, have stopped producing their mesh products. In order to reach a diagnosis, your doctor may perform the following exams or tests:

  • Complete pelvic exam
  • Rectal exam for fistula (an abnormal opening between vagina and rectum)
  • Pap smear
  • Blood testing
  • Ultrasound or CT scans for possible damage to surrounding organs

Common Treatment Options

When mesh hardens in the vagina it is often surgically removed to correct pain, sexual dysfunction, and other problems. If the vaginal walls, rectum, or other organs were damaged by the mesh, they will have to be repaired through surgery. Antibiotic therapy is initiated when necessary to prevent infection. Other surgical options, including replacing the mesh with an improved model, might be considered to treat the symptoms SUI and POP. The original complaints of urinary leakage, pelvic pressure, and pain are likely to return following the removal of TransVaginal surgical mesh.

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