Hernias and hernia mesh surgery

What is a hernia?

A hernia is when an organ, or fatty tissue, most commonly in the groin, pushes through a weakness in the muscle or tissue surrounding it, often causing a bulge under the skin.

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

Signs of a hernia can include a swelling or lump, most often in the abdomen or groin area. It can on occasion cause pain or discomfort in the affected area, particularly when bending over, coughing or lifting. The lump can often be pushed down and can disappear when lying down.

mesh surgery

If you think you have a hernia and experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty passing stools (constipation) or wind
  • The hernia becomes firm or tender, or can't be pushed back in.

Why are hernia symptoms dangerous?

Hernia symptoms can indicate that the blood supply to a section of an organ, or tissue trapped in the hernia, has become cut off - known as ‘strangulation’. Equally, it can be a sign that a piece of bowel has entered the hernia and has become blocked - known as ‘obstruction’. An obstructed bowel or strangulated hernia are medical emergencies and need to be treated as soon as possible.  

Hernia mesh surgery

A mesh implant is one of the options available to help treat patients who are suffering from hernias.

The most common type of hernia mesh surgery carried out is to treat inguinal hernias – which most commonly occur in men – but surgery may also be required for less common hernias such as femoral hernias - which most commonly affect women.

The implant is usually made of a synthetic material, which is used during surgery to strengthen damaged or weakened muscle or tissue, and repair hernias.

Mesh hernia repair can be carried out via keyhole (laparoscopic) or open surgery:

  • Open surgery: A cut is made, and the bulge of the hernia is pushed back through the weak spot before the muscle is reinforced with a mesh patch.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: The muscular weakness is repaired by inserting mesh through the lining of the abdominal wall. Keyhole surgery can also be performed to repair the muscle weakness without going through the abdominal lining.

If you, or a loved one, is advised to have surgery, it is important that the surgeon discusses all of the potential benefits and risks of the procedure with you beforehand.

Hernia mesh surgery is more often performed successfully and, unlike other forms of mesh, such as vaginal and rectal, there are no NICE guidelines recommending any other form of treatment as a safer replacement for mesh surgery. Also, unlike other forms of mesh surgery, hernia mesh has not been banned anywhere in the world.

However, as with all medical procedures, things can and do go wrong and it has been reported that one in 10 patients experience pain following inguinal hernia mesh surgery.

Problems can occur when the mesh deteriorates and breaks up within the body and attaches itself to parts of the body it was not intended to treat. The damage can be life-changing and irreversible. Complications can also occur as a result of negligent medical treatment.

Hernia mesh issues which are commonly reported include:

  • Chronic pain, especially in the abdomen and pelvic areas;
  • Infection;
  • Bleeding;
  • Difficulty or inability to walk;
  • Bladder perforation;
  • Bladder infection;
  • Haematoma;
  • Bowel and nerve trauma;
  • Incontinence;
  • Mesh erosion or protrusion.

There is also a risk that the hernia may return.

Frequently asked questions about hernia mesh claims

What do I do if I’m suffering hernia mesh issues after surgery?

Thompsons Solicitors urges anyone who thinks they have been injured as a result of a hernia mesh procedure to contact their GP immediately to diagnose the cause of pain.

If your GP concludes that your mesh implant is the cause of your suffering, or if they cannot explain it and you think it’s related to your mesh implant, our specialist medical negligence solicitors can help you using their significant legal expertise to advise whether you could begin a hernia mesh claim and get compensation. There’s no guarantee we will be able to pursue a hernia mesh claim for you, but we will give you the best advice possible based on your situation.

I had surgery years ago but have only recently started to experience abdominal hernia mesh complications. Can I still make a hernia mesh claim?

Some abdominal hernia mesh complications have been known to present themselves for the first time years after surgery.

Medical negligence claims must be made within three years of the date you could have reasonably known that your injury was a result of the procedure. The clock would start ticking, for example, following a diagnosis by a GP or any other medical professional that mesh is the cause of your problems. This means that, even if you underwent a hernia mesh procedure several years ago, and you are only now experiencing pain and discomfort, you may still be eligible to begin a hernia mesh claim.

Talk to our lawyers today for more information about whether you have grounds for a claim for hernia mesh compensation.

My mesh surgery was performed at a private hospital – can I still pursue a hernia mesh settlement?

Yes. Many mesh implant surgeries have been performed in private hospitals.

We have successfully secured significant compensation in medical negligence cases against private healthcare providers.

Do I have to pay to make a hernia mesh claim?

We recommend our clients fund their compensation claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. This means that you will only pay if your claim is successful. You can find out more about our finance options on our Fees and Payment page.