Updated August 20, 2021
Delayed and long-term complications can result from hernia mesh repair surgery where hernia mesh is implanted. Complications can include chronic pain, adhesions, bowel obstruction, infection, mesh migration and hernia recurrence. While there can be many symptoms that result immediately or soon after your surgery, pain and serious complications may occur years later because of defective materials or a doctor’s mistakes.
Mesh manufacturers are aware of the problems that these products can cause. Sadly, patients usually find out the hard way that these product defects can have long-term hernia mesh complications that can cause great pain and suffering. Our personal injury attorneys want to make sure you know the risks and how to seek help if you have faced these issues. A hernia mesh failure lawsuit is often an option.
In this article, we will discuss five key signs of delayed complications:
- 1. What is a long-term or delayed complication?
- 2. What kinds of long-term or delayed complications can happen?
- 3. What is hernia recurrence?
- 4. How are long-term or delayed complications treated?
- 5. What is a statute of limitations?
- 6. How can I be compensated?
- 7. What do I do if my device failed?
A long-term or delayed complication is an issue arising from your hernia mesh procedure that does not present itself immediately after or soon after the surgery. Negative symptoms can arise months or even years after your surgery. Some of these injuries may last for years once they start.
Patients who develop symptoms even five years after their hernia repair surgery have successfully brought personal injury lawsuits relating to their surgery from all types of hernias.
The types of symptoms and complications which can happen after your operation vary greatly. If you have suffered due to surgery for an inguinal hernia, groin hernia, or other hernia, even months or years after, you could be entitled to compensation.
Chronic pain is defined as the presence of pain, irritation, hypersensitivity, or discomfort which was not present before surgery and has existed for at least 3 months following the surgery. While pain at the surgical site immediately and soon after a hernia mesh surgery may be normal, pain — whether severe or not — that lasts for a long time is not.
Chronic pain can limit your ability to live your life, work, urinate, defecate, and have intercourse. And chronic pain is often caused by a manufacturer’s defective device or a doctor’s negligence. 1
Pain can take many forms, such as burning, pins and needles, sharp pains, dull pains, tingling, and pain during sex. Pain may have many causes, from infection to nerve entrapment. Pain may occur all the time or during certain activities, such as walking or resting. And it may occur all over or in certain areas, such as groin pain or during ejaculation.
Organ and bowel perforation can occur. This is because the polypropylene mesh fibers in certain devices have been found to erode and perforate (poke through) the tissues and organs surrounding the mesh.
This stabbing of the organs and tissue can result in extreme and lasting pain, as well as mesh infection, seromas, scar tissue, and bowel obstruction.
Mesh migration happens over time, resulting in pain, bleeding, inflammation, blockage, nerve damage, and/or a fistula. A fistula is an opening in your digestive tract which allows fluids to leak through the lining of your stomach and intestines. Severe infection can result, requiring hospitalization, abdominal surgery for mesh repair, severe pain, and sometimes mesh removal and surrounding tissue. 2
A mesh that has migrated can be difficult to repair and may be the result of the improper placement of the device by the abdominal wall.
Bacterial infection can range from minor, to severe. While it is not necessarily uncommon to have a small infection immediately following surgery, a severe infection may be the result of defective hernia mesh or a doctor’s mistakes.
When defective mesh causes other relatively common complications, such as migration or perforation, the side effects can cause infection. For example, if your bowel is perforated by the mesh, the leaking intestinal fluid can cause severe infection and abscesses – which can be life-threatening. This can occur unexpectedly years after your surgery.
Rejection occurs because of the body’s natural desire to destroy a foreign body. The body’s reaction is to be expected. Doctors know this and are able to prescribe certain medications that help minimize the chances of rejection.
However, studies have shown that certain mesh materials as well as the size of the “pores” or holes in the mesh are more likely to cause rejection. 3 Rejection of a hernia mesh implant can cause infection and the possible need for mesh surgical removal / revision surgery.
Hernia recurrence is when your hernia returns after surgery. This can occur years after your first surgery because the device failed. Hernias can come back because the device migrated, was rejected, shrank, or was simply defective. The recurrence rate can be high for certain patients.
Of course, if the device and surgery worked correctly, you would not be facing the same hernia again. If you face a recurrence of your hernia, a personal injury lawsuit may compensate you for your injuries.
Treatment options depend, of course, on the problem that needs to be fixed, but often additional surgical procedures are required. Open or laparoscopic surgery is not only painful but expensive. You will incur additional:
- medical bills,
- lost work time, and
- pain and suffering.
You may also be treated with anti-rejection drugs, antibiotics to treat an infection, nerve ablation, PRP (plasma-rich protein) injections, and painkillers for pain management. These painkillers often include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, tricyclic antidepressants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
A statute of limitations is a time period in which you must file your claim or it is lost. These periods vary from state to state both in length and when they begin. In certain states, the period begins when the wrongful act (usually the surgery date) occurred. For others, a “discovery rule” is applied, meaning the period begins when you first discover that something is wrong.
What this means for you, is that if you have begun to experience symptoms you should not wait. Contact experienced personal injury attorneys to protect your rights before the limitations period passes.
If you file a personal injury lawsuit against a manufacturer or doctor, you may be awarded financial compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical bills
- Loss of income or wages
- Future loss of income or reduction in earning potential
- Punitive damages (in certain circumstances).
If you think your symptoms are the result of a defective device or a doctor’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the multi-billion dollar device manufacturers, such as Bard or Ethicon (which made physiomesh).
Through a personal injury attorney, you can file a hernia mesh lawsuit to make sure those at fault for your pain and costs are held responsible. Millions of dollars have been recovered to compensate victims for these defective medical devices.
Contact Shouse Law Group today for a free consultation. We have local offices throughout California, but we represent clients throughout the United States who have been injured by hernia mesh products.
- NYCHERNIA. Chronic Pain After Hernia Surgery. Also see Hernia Surgical Mesh Implants, FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and Adverse Event Reports Program. See also Andreas Kohler, Mesh fixation to fascia during incisional hernia repair results in increased prevalence of pain at long-term follow up: a multicenter propensity score matched prospective observational study, Surgical Endoscopy (2021).
- NCBI. Chronic abdominal pain secondary to erosion into cecum following incisional hernia repair: a case report and literature review. See also M. Matikainan, Impact of Mesh and Fixation on Chronic Inguinal Pain in Lichtenstein Hernia Repair: 5-Year Outcomes from the Finn Mesh Study, World Journal of Surgery (October 24, 2021).
- NCBI. Which mesh for hernia repair? See also V Sivarajah, Chronic groin pain following open inguinal hernia repair: has consenting practice improved? Annals (January, 2021)