The intended length of time for a hernia mesh to last depends upon the type of hernia mesh used in the hernia repair. Non-absorbable mesh is considered permanent and is intended to stay in your body indefinitely. Absorbable mesh is implanted to provide a temporary reinforcement while new tissue grows and degrades over time.
This gives you an idea of how long a mesh hernia repair should last. Unfortunately, design defects and material selection commonly present a different outcome for patients, resulting in hernia meshes that break apart and cause serious complications.
Hundreds of thousands of hernia mesh devices used for hernia mesh repair have been recalled by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. We shall review some of these devices here and explain the flaws that caused them to break apart. Once the hernia mesh breaks apart, it no longer is able to do its job of facilitating the hernia repair, meaning the hernia can reoccur. On top of this, the hernia mesh breakage can cause further injury to patients.
Ethicon produced this lightweight polypropylene mesh and coated it with oxidized regenerated cellulose as an added protective measure of injury prevention within the body. The manufacturer radiated the entire device so that the coating would assume a resorbable characteristic (like bone). The process caused the underlying mesh polymer to begin degrading. As a result, there was the possibility that the entire device could shrink, disintegrate, and migrate throughout the body.
Manufacturers voluntarily recalled this hernia mesh in 2016. Significant manufacturing defects led to the premature breakdown and/or disintegration of the device. Also, the mesh failed to incorporate into the abdominal wall and folded over following the implantation, and patients experienced adhesion of the mesh to their bowels. The material used was so lacking that the meshes were known to tear and become perforated while still in their packaging.
For the gel coating on this mesh, manufacturers used purified pharmaceutical-grade fish oil with the intention of preventing adhesions with the polypropylene mesh. Instead, many patients suffered almost immediate adverse reactions and severe side effects. Ultimately, the coating separated from the mesh, and so patients with a higher tolerance to the coating still endured the injuries of internal organ damage.
The recoil ring built into this mesh was designed to let the mesh fold up during insertion, then reopen once positioned behind the incision. However, the ring would break apart over time and puncture internal organs as it migrated throughout the body.
It is not uncommon for hernia mesh problems to manifest a good while after the surgeon implants them in your body. The types of problems that consistently surface in relation to hernia mesh repair include:
When new materials used in the construction of hernia meshes were developed in the 1980s, mesh-centric hernia repairs surged in popularity. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie. Companies raced to push their products to market, often before they had been fully tested. The FDA’s 510(k) process facilitated this irresponsible mad dash to market, giving shoddily manufactured meshes a fast track to approval because they were similar to medical devices that had already been approved.
Thousands of hernia mesh lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers. If you think your surgeon might have used a defective hernia mesh in your hernia repair, you should try to contact the surgeon and find out for sure. You can also request medical records from the hospital where your surgery took place. Check the mesh name and manufacturer against a database of recalled medical devices, including hernia meshes, on the FDA website.
If your hernia mesh repair did not last as long as it should have and you experienced either recurrence of your hernia and/or other damages as a result of the defective hernia mesh, you may qualify for a hernia mesh lawsuit.