Canadian Study Reveals Further Surgery for Mesh Patients

September 10, 2015- According to a new study, Canadian women  who received vaginal mesh to treat incontinence had a one in 30 chance they would need to have the mesh removed or undergo further surgery within 10 years.

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This decade long follow-up study collected data from close to 60,000 Canadian women, and even though the authors of the study say the risk is “low,” a one in 30 chance of further surgery is still something to be concerned about. Researchers did note that the women in the study who received additional slings when the initial one failed had a nearly five-fold increased risk of complications that required even more surgery. These findings most likely “temper the enthusiasm” that previous studies suggest the use of multiple slings is safe and effective.

Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) conducted the study, which is the first to measure the rate of mesh removal or revision among Canadian women. The study looked at nearly 60,000 women in Ontario who had undergone surgery between 2002 and 2012 to treat “stress urinary incontinence,” which is a condition in which women leak urine when they cough, sneeze, or are physically active. Pelvic floor muscle exercises can be helpful to some women with the condition, along with lifestyle changes. But for others, incontinence is so disruptive that surgery is required.

Vaginal mesh slings have become the most common surgical treatment for incontinence. The slings are made of a polypropylene material and are surgically implanted in the vaginal wall to create a sort of hammock under the urethra or bladder neck. The sling supports the urethra and helps to keep it closed. For some women, the slings can erode, which leads to vaginal or leg pain, or even trouble emptying the bladder. Because these complications are difficult to  treat, they usually involve further surgery.

In the United States, more than 50,000 women have joined class-action lawsuits for vaginal mesh complications. While the majority of the risk has been associated to the use of vaginal mesh for prolapse surgery, researchers claim that stress incontinence mesh can lead to complications as well.

Researchers also found that the surgeon experience played a role in the risk of complications. Patients of surgeons who had done more mesh incontinence surgeries had a 27% lower chance of needing mesh removal or revision than other patients. The findings from the study support statements from Health Canada and the FDA that suggest patients be counselled on serious complications that can occur with mesh-based stress urinary incontinence procedures and that surgeons should have a relative amount of expertise on the procedure.

If you or someone you love has been harmed in this manner, you need to put a relentless force up against the one that will be working to limit your recovery of compensation. Contact the defective transvaginal mesh lawyers at the Hood National Law Group, today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Sources: CTV News, JAMA