Studies show true scale of damage done by mesh implants
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has suggested that hundreds more women who received vaginal mesh implants to treat incontinence will need a reversal procedure.
Originally estimates were that 2.6 per cent of people who had a mesh implant needed a reversal procedure due to complications but the new research now suggests that the correct figure is 3.3 per cent.
Flexible mesh tapes to treat incontinence were thought to be safer than the rigid mesh that was used to treat organ prolapse after child birth, but now the safety of this tape has been called into question.
Out of 100,000 women who received a vaginal mesh implant, 3.3 per cent (3,137 women) needed the implant removed within a decade – a third more than an NHS audit reported. Younger women who have had the implant could be at a higher risk, with studies suggesting that the need for removal rises to 4.4 per cent of women between 18 and 39.
Thousands of people across the UK and overseas have brought lawsuits because of injuries suffered due to mesh surgery. When the implant deforms, it lacerates soft tissues of the vaginal canal, causing pain and disability.
We represent hundreds of people, not just women, who are victims of mesh many of whom have had their lives ruined because of it. We are committed to fighting against the use of mesh in surgery until its full effects are known, only that way will we prevent it causing irreparable damage to even more lives.
Linda Millband National Practice Lead for Clinical Negligence
Despite known complications for years it was only this year that the government began to investigate the matter properly and a directive was issued to NHS trusts in England advising that mesh implants should only be used as a last resort and under vigilant supervision with regular check-ups to monitor any complications that may arise.
Authors of the latest study noted a gradual decline in mesh operations, falling by 50 per cent from 2006 to 2015.
Linda Millband, lead lawyer for clinical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The number of women reporting complications from their mesh surgery is growing at an alarming rate, which is deeply concerning.
“We represent hundreds of people, not just women, who are victims of mesh many of whom have had their lives ruined because of it. We are committed to fighting against the use of mesh in surgery until its full effects are known, only that way will we prevent it causing irreparable damage to even more lives.”
Kath Sansom, director of campaign group Sling the Mesh, said: "As Disraeli said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
“Nobody knows the true risk of mesh unless there is a national recall. Thousands of mesh patients will be suffering having not made the connection mesh is causing their pain, some will have been treated in private hospitals where there is no data capture, while others just go back and forth to GPs for pain meds or antibiotics for infection so won’t be picked up.”
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