Transvaginal mesh implants have been used for years, and the longer they’ve been around, the more complications have arisen. Over the course of just five years, more than 5,000 complaints were filed with the FDA that included reports of pain, infections, and even death.
Based on these complaints, the FDA has stated that transvaginal mesh implants might be doing more harm than good, especially considering how common the issues have become. As with any surgical procedure, potential patients should be wary of complications, but perhaps more so with this one in particular. The problems that crop up are not easy to get rid of and often require multiple costly surgeries and can lead to chronic pain and infection.
Here is a look at some of the most common complications associated with transvaginal mesh.
The most common complication of transvaginal mesh implants is an erosion of the tissue surrounding the mesh. Erosion can occur near the vagina as well as the urinary tract and may cause pain, recurrent urinary tract infections, abscesses, and fistulas—which are small holes connecting the vaginal canal to the rectum.
One of the more dangerous issues surrounding transvaginal mesh is organ perforation, which occurs when the implant actually punctures nearby organs, such as the bladder, bowels, urethra, or rectum. Left untreated, the waste from these organs may enter the bloodstream. This can cause septic shock, which can lead to death if not treated quickly. Surgical repair is almost always required for organ perforation.
Following the surgery to implant transvaginal mesh, patients may experience rectal pain. Although this should be relieved through the healing process, it’s also possible that it may continue or get worse. Additionally, some women may experience chronic vaginal pain as well.
As with any serious procedure, the risk of post-surgical infection is high. Antibiotics can and should be administered to help prevent it, but nonetheless, high fevers, pain in the pelvic region, or an abnormal and unpleasant discharge from the vagina are all possible symptoms of infection.
Bleeding may aslo occur from the surgery and implant itself. In some cases, it can be so severe as to require a blood transfusion. In fact, clinical trials suggest that excessive bleeding is more common in this particular procedure than almost any other vaginal surgery.