Defective Hernia Mesh FAQ
What Is a Hernia?
Organs are held in place by layers of muscle and tissue. A hernia happens when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a hole in surrounding muscle or tissue, spilling into the next body cavity. This happens when the layer of muscle and tissue holding something in place develops a weak spot. The pressure within the body cavity causes tissue to push through that weak spot.
Why Do Hernias Happen?
Some people are born with weak spots in their muscle and tissue. Other people develop these weak spots with time. Basically, a hernia is caused by the bad combination of too much pressure in the wrong spot.
A hernia is more likely to occur during activities that put pressure on the abdomen, like:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Persistent coughing or sneezing
Further, people who have the following medical conditions are at higher risk for hernia:
- Poor nutrition
Where Do Hernias Happen?
Hernias usually occur in the following locations:
- Abdomen (ventral)
- Groin (inguinal or femoral)
- Location where a surgery previously occurred (incisional)
- Belly button (umbilical)
What is Hernia Mesh?
Again, a hernia happens when organs or tissue push through a hole or weak spot in the body cavity. Hernia mesh is biosynthetic material that a surgeon can implant to repair the tear.
The mesh is like the screen on a window, but with a much narrower weave. Most hernia mesh is made from one of three substances:
- plastic (usually polypropylene)
- animal tissue (usually the skin or intestine of a cow or pig)
How Does Hernia Mesh Work?
In order to successfully patch the hole, hernia mesh must successfully do two things:
- Act as a scaffold to encourage tissue growth to repair the hernia
- Separate bowels and other tissue from forming scar tissue
On one side, the hernia mesh must not stick to the intestines and other organs, or it can cause severe complications (not to mention a tedious repair process). On the reverse side, the hernia mesh must encourage tissue regrowth over where the hernia occurred. The tissue overgrowth is what prevents a hernia in the same place in the future.
Is Hernia Mesh Implant Surgery Common?
Hernia mesh implant surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the world.
How Common Are Hernia Mesh Repair Surgeries?
More than one million hernia repair surgeries occur each year in the U.S. alone.
How Do Hernia Mesh Products Fail?
Failure to Integrate: Hernia mesh is intended to adhere to the hernia location, covering and repairing the hernia. Certain mesh products are made of materials that prevent proper adherence. Instead of adhering to the hernia location, the mesh migrates eventually integrating itself into a different area of the body.
Adverse Reaction: In an attempt to prevent mesh from sticking to tissue it shouldn’t stick to, manufacturers coat the mesh in an anti-adhesive material. In some mesh products, this coating is made up of materials that are so foreign to the body, they cause body rejection and a localized inflammatory response at the hernia site.
What Injuries Are Caused by Hernia Mesh Failure?
- Hernia recurrence
- Intestinal blockage
- Mesh migration/ contraction
- Bowel perforation
- Revision surgery
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Mesh failure
- Mesh balled/wadded up
- Edges of mesh curled towards bowels
What Types of Hernia Mesh Products Have Failed?
Various types of hernia mesh have been either recalled or removed from the market by the manufacturer due to high failure rates. When a hernia mesh fails, it is often due to migration or the body’s adverse reaction to materials used to make the mesh.
Some examples of recalled hernia mesh products include: C-QUR, Physiomesh, Composix Kugel Mesh, 3DMax, and PerFix Plug
My Hernia Mesh Implant Has Failed: What Should I Do?
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