Mesh erosion is a possible and serious complication of hernia repair surgery. Not only is it a complication itself, but it leads to further, sometimes life-threatening, complications. When it erodes, the hernia mesh implant must be removed, but this can sometimes be difficult depending on the nature of the erosion.
If the mesh used in your hernia repair surgery was defective and as such eroded and caused complications and injuries, then you may be entitled to file a hernia mesh lawsuit to recover compensatory damages. Here, our product liability and personal injury attorneys answer questions about the mesh erosion and after hernia mesh repair surgery.
- 1. What is mesh erosion?
- 2. What complications are caused by mesh erosion?
- 3. What are the symptoms or signs of mesh erosion?
- 4. How is mesh erosion diagnosed?
- 5. Will you need to have another surgery?
- 6. Are there mesh products more known to erode than others?
- 7. When should you contact a personal injury lawyer?
1. What is mesh erosion?
Mesh erosion is the degradation of a mesh implant. It can occur relatively quickly, but most times it is a gradual degradation worsening over time.
There are typically two ways erosion commences: (1) the body attacks it; or (2) the mesh migrates.
1.1 How does mesh erosion result from the body attacking the mesh?
Mesh erosion is often the result of a defective mesh implant that has been inserted in the body and the body treats it as a foreign object. The body’s immune system sends cells to the site of the implant to attack it. This creates inflammation. The inflammation breaks down and degrades the mesh product as the body tries to fight the foreign object. This begins the erosion process.1
At this point, too, the mesh may begin to shrink in size and/or migrate, and when it does, further complications can result.
1.2 How does mesh erosion result from mesh migration?
One complication of hernia mesh implants is mesh migration. When mesh loosens, breaks, or tears from its fixed location, it can migrate through the body. As it does, the integrity of the implant breaks down. The mesh may then begin to erode into viscous or tissue.2
2. What complications are caused by mesh erosion?
The complications of mesh erosion typically include:
- Mesh migration
- Fistula formation
- Bowel obstruction.3
3. What are the symptoms or signs of mesh erosion?
Signs and symptoms of mesh erosion may not materialize until years after the erosion has started.4 But when the symptoms do start to show, they include:
- unexplained infection or chronic infection
- fever when its cause is unknown
- chills, nausea, and/or vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms but no flu
- bulging in the area of the hernia
- mild to severe pain in and around the area of the hernia.
Whether or not you can link these symptoms to hernia mesh erosion does not matter — you should always consult with your doctor about any unexplained illness. When you see your doctor, make sure he or she is informed of your hernia repair surgery history.
4. How is mesh erosion diagnosed?
Diagnosis can be difficult. Your doctor will likely need to take an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI to determine what’s happening to the mesh.
5. Will you need to have another surgery?
You will likely need surgery. If the mesh has eroded, the doctor will determine if removal is necessary or if it can be repaired without removal. Each case will vary according to the circumstances and nature of:
- the mesh;
- extent of erosion;
- extent of other complications; and
- your overall health.
6. Are there mesh products more known to erode than others?
Any mesh product has the ability to erode given the circumstances: whether your body attacks it or not. There are two materials, however, that are most often linked to mesh erosion, and they are:
- Polypropylene — a cheap plastic commonly used in hernia mesh products;5 and
- Organic material — like omega fatty acids from fish oil.6
Some hernia mesh manufacturers using these materials have or are undergoing lawsuits. These include:
7. When should you contact a personal injury lawyer?
If you have had hernia repair surgery and have experienced complications as a result of the surgery and/or the mesh implant used, it is in your best interests to contact a hernia mesh product liability and personal injury attorney. He or she can help your understand your rights and whether or not you may be eligible for compensation.
At Shouse Law Group, our personal injury lawyers are experienced, insightful, and resourceful. We have local offices throughout California but represent clients throughout the U.S. in hernia mesh claims. Contact our office today to discuss the specifics of your case.
- Gandhi D, Marcin S, Xin Z, Asha B, Kaswala D, Zamir B. Chronic abdominal pain secondary to mesh erosion into cecum following incisional hernia repair: a case report and literature review. Ann Gastroenterol. 2011;24(4):321–324.
- Same as 1.
- Id. See also, Kok ASY, Cheung TSH, Lam DCT, Chan WHC, Chan SWW, Chow TL. Mesh erosion to urinary bladder causing fistulation to abdominal wall resulting in necrotizing fasciitis: A case report of late complication of incisional hernia. Int J Surg Case Rep. 2017;39:185–187. doi:10.1016/j.ijscr.2017.08.019
- Same as 1.
- Gil D, Rex J, Reukov V, Vertegel A. In vitro study on the deterioration of polypropylene hernia repair meshes. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2018 Aug;106(6):2225-2234. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.34029. Epub 2017 Oct 25. See also, Iakovlev VV, Guelcher SA, Bendavid R. Degradation of polypropylene in vivo: A microscopic analysis of meshes explanted from patients. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2017 Feb;105(2):237-248. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33502. Epub 2015 Aug 28.
- Kong, Lai, Khoo, Rahman, Chin. Inflammatory reaction to fish oil coated polypropylene mesh used for laparoscopic incisional hernia repair: a case report. BMC Surg. 2016; 16: 8. doi: 10.1186/s12893-016-0123-8.