Hernia Mesh Complications: All You Need to Know

A surgeon preparing hernia mesh for an operation.

Hernias are a common health problem in the United States. More than a million hernia repair surgeries occur each year, with 800,000 being to fix groin hernias. What are the complications that come from hernia mesh surgeries, and what are their results?

This article helps you understand hernia complications and what to do if they occur. To sue a doctor or hospital for a complication resulting from a hernia mesh surgery, contact a mass tort attorney today.

What Are the Common Hernia Mesh Complications?

A weakness or opening in the muscle and connective tissue surrounding the belly area causes a hernia. Surgeons use a hernia mesh to solve these. However, several complications could occur during this process. Hernia mesh complications include the following:

  • Hernia Mesh Adhesion

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adhesions are scar-like tissue that sticks tissues together. Many times, after a hernia mesh surgery, a patient could experience severe pain. This could lead to fatal bowel obstructions.

One of the reported cases of mesh adhesion involved the use of an Atrium C-QUR TacShield. The shield became attached to the patient’s small intestine causing severe pain. As such, doctors had to remove it 12 days after they had implanted it.

To avoid adhesions, manufacturers have developed different coatings. These coatings have indeed reduced adhesions but do not prevent them. However, a study in the British Journal of Surgery in 2009 found that the body absorbs the layer over time.

  • Bowel Perforation

When hernia mesh punctures the bowel, it causes bowel perforation. The mesh could also perforate through the abdominal wall or other organs in the abdomen. The symptoms of bowel perforation include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and abdominal rigidity. When this occurs, the fecal matter could seep into the abdomen, causing sepsis. It could also result in peritonitis.

  • Chronic Infection

Sometimes, years after the hernia mesh surgery, the patient begins experiencing chronic infection symptoms. While you can treat minor infections around the suture site with antibiotics, you might need something more substantial to treat chronic infections. Symptoms of this include inflammation, fever, and other flu-like symptoms.

  •  Hernia Mesh Rejections

While doctors use hernia meshes to treat hernias, you could find that your body starts rejecting the mesh. Sometimes, the materials in the surgical mesh trigger your body’s immune response. Symptoms include extreme swelling at the surgical site, severe pain, redness, and flu-like symptoms. If this occurs, you should seek immediate medical attention.

  • Hernia Mesh Migration

In some cases, after successful surgery, the hernia mesh detaches and migrates through the abdomen. This is a severe complication that could lead to adhesions, fistulas, or abscesses. It could also lead to bowel obstruction or perforation.

When this happens, the doctors have to perform corrective surgery to remove the mesh and part of the intestine. Hernia mesh migration is very painful from the onset. Also, it’s possible to be clueless about it until it has caused severe damage.

  • Hernia Recurrence

This is one of the most common complications from hernia surgery. When the hernia comes back, doctors call it a recurrence. Hernia recurrence is one of the reasons surgeons began using the mesh. However, unfortunately, using the mesh still does not guarantee against recurrence. Other complications like mesh migration or detachment can cause a recurrence.

  •  Bowel Obstruction

If a mesh adhesion occurs, it could sometimes cause a bowel obstruction. It could also cause this if it migrates in your body. This is because part of the intestines can get trapped in the mesh. When hernia mesh causes bowel obstruction, you might experience the following symptoms: constipation, nausea, and vomiting.

Bowel obstructions are more severe than people think and it needs immediate medical attention. It could cut off blood flow and deaden a part of the intestine. When this occurs, the surgeons might have to remove a part of the intestine. This complication is one of the reasons why the FDA recalled various types of hernia mesh.

Treating Hernia Mesh Complications

If you detect the symptoms of hernia mesh complications, you should see a doctor immediately. The symptoms include:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling of the belly or groin area
  • Constipation
  • High fever
  • Increased redness or surgery site
  • Stiffness in abdomen

Doctors can run a few diagnostic tests to detect complications. These include x-rays, CT scans, and blood tests. If they notice a complication, they may perform surgery to remove the mesh. Doctors can also use medication, or combine it with surgery to remove obstructions, treat perforations, and repair holes.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today!

If you suffer from a hernia mesh complication, you should contact our mass tort lawyers today. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and not demand any payment until we win your case.

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