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Stress Urinary Incontinence and Mesh Surgery: Complications

Stress-Urinary-Incontinence-and-Mesh-SurgeryAs many of us know, modern medicine can increase quality of life in countless ways. A growing number of procedures keep us healthy and full of life, and new, innovative treatments help alleviate pain and increase independence.

Frequently women are plagued with issues, like stress urinary incontinence (SUI) which are easily and quickly corrected surgically. Unfortunately, when TransVaginal Mesh is used to treat SUI, the original symptoms may return, along with a host of new complications.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a disease that is described by the Mayo Clinic as resulting in loss of bladder control (incontinence) due to stress being placed upon a weak bladder that is not being properly supported by the vaginal muscles and the surrounding tissues. Simple daily tasks, like picking up a heavy box, bending, coughing, sneezing and even performing physical exercises, can all contribute to the primary symptom: a leaking bladder. The Mayo Clinic specifically states that this disorder is due to physical and not “psychological stress.”

What Is Trans-Vaginal Mesh and Why Is It Used in SUI?

Since the late 90s, a variety of medical product makers have designed products called TransVaginal Mesh – a thin layer of screen-like, bio-compatible mesh – that is surgically implanted into the body using a procedure called “mesh surgery.” More recently, mesh has been used in the pelvic area to assist in the support of fallen organs, for example, the bladder which can cause SUI. Mesh can also be used as a sling for the bladder itself, or it can be used to support both the urethra and bladder opening. Each surgery requires incisions in the vagina, abdomen, or both.

In the aftermath, thousands of noted complications have occurred, ranging from mild to severe, resulting in countless personal lawsuits and class action lawsuits being brought against the makers of the products and the doctors who performed the mesh surgeries.

Common Complications

The problem with some of these mesh products is that they were not subject to undergo as stringent research and development because of certain FDA protocols that enabled them to fly under the radar of the typically lengthy clinical trials. This resulted in them not being as time tested as other medical devices. The result is that some of these products could literally harden and breakdown inside of the body, because they were not time tested. The tiny pieces of the broken down mesh are typically sharp and can penetrate the walls of the vagina and nearby surrounding soft tissues, nerves and organs.

The most common complication related to TransVaginal Mesh is erosion. Erosion occurs when the mesh moves into surrounding organs or vaginal tissues. Synthetic mesh can shrink, harden, or crack, perforating the vaginal tissues, bowels, bladder, and urethra.


If you have undergone mesh surgery to treat SUI, and you notice any of these persistent systems, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away to gain expert medical diagnoses. They could be the result of a failed surgery or device.

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Return of incontinence
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual discharge
  • Pain in the pelvic and surrounding regions
  • Pain while having sex
  • Pain while urinating or defecating
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Sharp and inconsistent pains in bladder, pelvis or surrounding areas
  • Puncture of nearby organs
  • Ongoing or repeated vaginal or urinary infections

Consumers have undergone addition surgeries to correct defective mesh which are difficult and dangerous. Revision surgery, or complete mesh removal, is often required. Revision surgeries bring further risks, such as hemorrhage, blood clots, scarring, and additional tissue damage.

The Next Steps for Problems with Mesh Surgery

A visit to your doctor will help you determine whether mesh was used in your corrective surgery for stress urinary incontinence. In addition, an examination of your medical record will reveal the exact manufacturer and model of the mesh that’s in your body. Take special note of this information, as certain types of mesh are more likely to cause harm than others. If you being to experience symptoms related to mesh erosion, you should discuss your treatment options with your doctor without delay.

It seems unfair that after the pain and inconvenience of mesh surgery for stress urinary incontinence, it sometimes fails. Mesh manufactures, like Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific, marketed their mesh as safe and effective, only to pull their products off the shelves for repeated problems. Corrective surgery can be costly, both financially and mentally. As a result, numerous lawsuits continue to be filed against these mesh manufacturers and others. An attorney who specializes in medical device liability cases will be able to discuss our legal options with you.

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