While the complications associated with transvaginal mesh implants are now well documented, data on the success of mesh removal surgery remains sparse. As lawsuits continue across the country seeking compensation from six mesh manufacturers, a newly-released study into mesh removal has shown that, for many women, the side effects of mesh implantation continue long after the device itself is gone.
Patients can be reassured that exposed mesh can almost always be successfully managed surgically.
Published in December 2013’s Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, the study - Symptom Resolution After Operative Management of Complications From Transvaginal Mesh – aims to “describe the outcomes of vaginal mesh removal.” The study was released by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and uses retrospective data from all patients who were surgically treated at the facility after suffering mesh complications. Between January 2008 and April 2012, 90 women underwent revision surgery, 84 of whom had follow-up data used in the study.
It will come as no surprise to many woman suffering pain and discomfort from their mesh implant that the removal of the device is only one step in the road to recovery. The doctors noted that only 51% of patients who suffered from pain, mesh exposure, dyspareunia (pain during sex), and mesh erosion found that removal surgery completely relieved their symptoms. In 95% of patients, mesh exposure – where part of the device fails to be properly accepted by the body and remains exposed - was successfully treated. This means that even when the surgery fulfilled its purpose, many women continued to suffer pain and discomfort.
The study’s conclusion itself notes “removal of vaginal mesh is helpful in relieving symptoms” associated with the devices; however, “pain and dyspareunia are only resolved completely in half of patients.”
This is good news and bad news for women hoping that surgery will provide an end to their vaginal mesh problems. The conclusion to the study does point out that “patients can be reassured that exposed mesh can almost always be successfully managed surgically.”
Patients can also take solace in the fact that the tide is turning against mesh manufacturers. Mesh lawsuits consolidated in a West Virginia federal court continue to seek compensation on behalf of the thousands of women affected by transvaginal mesh complications.