An overview of what pelvic mesh is used for and how it works, including reference to the complications associated with mesh being implanted, as a result of the oxidative degradation of mesh.
Pelvic mesh is a medical device that is designed to be surgically implanted into the vaginal and/or pelvic region of the body for the treatment of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (“POP”) and Stress Urinary Incontinence (“SUI”).
POP and SUI are two commonly occurring medical conditions where the tissue in the pelvic region weakens or becomes damaged. With POP, the weakened tissue leads to various pelvic organs such as the bladder, uterus or bowel descending downwards from its original position. SUI is identified where the result of the weakened tissue is the involuntary leaking of urine during physical activities such as coughing, laughing, or sneezing.
Mesh was initially developed and used to repair the abdominal wall in patients with hernias, but it gained popularity over time as a treatment option for POP and SUI. This led to custom surgical mesh devices being designed and manufactured, specifically to be implanted into the pelvic region.
Typically, pelvic mesh is a sheet of woven or net-like material that is designed in such a way that once it is implanted, the patient’s tissue grows through the porous surface of the mesh and becomes fused to the body. The intention is for the mesh to be a permanent implant that provides continues support to the weakened or damaged tissue and addresses the complications suffered by individuals diagnosed with POP or SUI.
The size, shape, and pore size of pelvic mesh differs between the various mesh devices available on the market and depends largely on the manufacturer, the type of implantation it is designed for – whether transvaginally, abdominally or laparoscopically, and the nature of the weakened and/or damaged tissue.
Predominantly, these mesh devices are made in whole or in part from a type of plastic called polypropylene, although there are some varieties of mesh that are not synthetic and made from animal-derived biomaterials such as an intestine.
Polypropylene is subject to oxidative degradation which causes the mesh to harden, become brittle, and crack. This results in sharp edges that cut into surrounding tissue, excessive scar tissue building up that entrap nerves, and chronic inflammatory responses.
RH Lawyers Inc. (“RHL”) and Richard Spoor Inc. (“RSI”) have launched class action proceedings against Johnson & Johnson, Coloplast and various other associated manufacturers and distributors of pelvic mesh, on behalf of class members who were implanted with defective pelvic mesh devices.