The health watchdog says evidence suggests its long-term efficacy is “inadequate in quality and quantity”
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised against the use of vaginal mesh to treat people suffering with pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
In its report published on 15 December 2017, the health watchdog recommends transvaginal mesh surgery should only be used for research purposes, as current evidence shows the long-term efficacy of the procedure to be “inadequate in quality and quantity”. The report does not recommend against the use of vaginal mesh to treat other conditions, such as stress-urinary incontinence or hernias.
The new guidance follows complaints by patients who have experienced life-changing health consequences after undergoing vaginal mesh surgery - in some cases, the mesh implants have cut into the vagina, leaving those affected unable to work, walk or have sex.
"While it’s positive that the dangers mesh implants pose are becoming more widely acknowledged, including by medical professionals, it’s time for the government to wake up and recognise the serious health consequences they cause to prevent people suffering in the future."
Earlier this year, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme claimed to have obtained NHS data from the Hospital Episode Statistics suggesting more than 92,000 women in England had vaginal mesh implants between April 2007 and March 2015. Some women, who are now taking legal action, allege surgeons failed to warn them of the risks involved.
Sling the Mesh, a campaign raising awareness of the risks associated with vaginal and rectal mesh surgery, is also calling for a national register to monitor the health of those adversely affected by the procedure.
Madeleine Pinschof, senior medical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The updated NICE recommendations echo our longstanding concern around mesh implants, however we’re yet to receive a verdict on whether mesh should be used to treat other health conditions like incontinence, hernias and rectal prolapse. Many of those who have turned to Thompsons Solicitors for help have suffered debilitating serious injuries as a result of TVT surgery, STARR and rectopexy procedures, so there is clearly a wider mesh issue that needs to be addressed.
“While it’s positive that the dangers mesh implants pose are becoming more widely acknowledged, including by medical professionals, it’s time for the government to wake up and recognise the serious health consequences they cause to prevent people suffering in the future.”
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