TransVaginal Mesh is a product composed of plastic (polypropylene), which is implanted into a woman to act as a retaining wall or hammock, holding the pelvic organs in place and to help treat urinary problems. This procedure was considered a cost-effective and less dangerous alternative to reconstructive surgery.
The use of TransVaginal Mesh promised relief for female conditions such as stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, uterine prolapse, bladder prolapse, rectal prolapse, vaginal vault prolapse and small bowel prolapse.
The sling is created of a similar material to the mesh, but is designed to prevent the urethra from opening during coughing, sneezing or laughing. These are typically used to manage stress urinary incontinence.
Urinary Tract Infections. Also referred to as UTIs, can be caused by a number of underlying conditions. The most common reason women suffer from UTIs is actually due to bacteria that infects the urinary tract following sexual intercourse. A tract infection can also occur due to a sexually transmitted infection stemming from unprotected sex with a partner.
While UTIs are generally located in the bladder, the Mayo Clinic says that they can also travel to your kidneys as well, resulting in more serious medical complications. Bladder infections can be easily diagnosed by doctors and are often treated with simple antibiotic sets. For women who have undergone TransVaginal Mesh surgery, doctors will be more scrupulous when identifying the causes of UTIs because there have been thousands of cases of these failed products being a direct culprit.
While a urinary tract can become infected for a variety of reasons, for women with TransVaginal Mesh, they should be aware of the following symptoms, which could be associated with mesh failure.
When untreated, infection in the lower urinary tract can travel upwards to the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney infection include:
Since the kidneys’ main function is to clear harmful toxins from the body, avoiding kidney failure with prompt treatment of any UTI is essential.
Some brands of the mesh that were made have been shown to be defective, often breaking down in the body over time, not intended by design. The fragmented pieces are sharp and can cause tears in the surrounding tissues, including causing bladder perforation. If perforation of the bladder or urethra has occurred, frequent infection and pain will follow. Your doctor can perform certain tests that include: X-ray, cystoscopy, pelvic exam and a CT scan to determine if failed TransVaginal Mesh is causing the infections.
Infections in the urinary tract can happen easily and frequently in women. Often, bacterial contamination occurs simply because the urethra is very close to the vagina and the anus. Usage of diaphragms or catheters can also introduce organisms into the area, leading to infection. Blockage of any kind that results in urinary retention can also cause UTI.
Recently, however, urinary tract infections have been linked to the TransVaginal Mesh used in corrective pelvic surgeries. Women who have had TV mesh implanted for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapse (POP) have reported UTI as a common complication.
Surgical mesh, while proven safe and effective in hernia repair, is often problematic in TransVaginal surgery. Not extensively tested for treatment of SUI and POP, TransVaginal Mesh can become brittle and crack in the body, slicing nearby organs (perforation). In cases of mesh erosion, mesh may also move from where it was implanted to the lower urinary tract.
Frequent urinary tract infections may indicate that mesh erosion or perforation has occurred. Any damage to the bladder or urethra can be confirmed by tests such as a CT scan, X-ray, or cystoscopy.
Urinary tract infections are usually treated with oral antibiotics. If TV mesh caused structural damage to the urinary tract, removal will be required, along with the appropriate organ repair. General anesthetic is usually used in this type of surgery. Stent placement in the ureters – channels that connect the kidneys and the bladder – may be necessary. In some cases, catheters are required to temporarily drain urine. Although a lengthy hospital stay is usually not necessary, complete recovery can be difficult and take as long as 6 months.
The doctor’s office is the first stop in treating a recurring UTI. In addition to treating the infection, finding its cause is of equal importance. A review of your medical record can confirm if TransVaginal Mesh is in your body, and if so, the brand and model of the mesh. This information is important because certain meshes are reportedly defective.
Certain health advocate groups have suggested that all synthetic mesh be banned in TransVaginal Mesh surgeries, citing the risks of use significantly outweigh any benefit. If your recurring UTI is due to defective mesh, an attorney that specializes in product liability cases will be able to discuss your legal options with you.