7 Common Signs and Symptoms of Hernia Mesh Failure


7 signs my hernia mesh is failing

Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Attorney Neil Shouse explains the symptoms a patient may be experiencing if their hernia mesh implant has failed. Some of the most common symptoms of a failed device are burning sensations, bulging in the abdomen caused by an infection, feeling tired all day long, have sexual problems in the bedroom such as impotence, constipation and other digestion issues, feeling sick to your stomach, and most commonly of all, pain. Many patients complain about these symptoms to their doctor who implanted the failed devices, but the doctors will tell them their symptoms are normal, and nothing is wrong. They will tell the patients to go home and take pain medication. But really those doctors may just be afraid to remove the device, because the surgery is very complicated, and can lead to potential liabilities where the doctor may open themselves up to a lawsuit. A CT scan to look and see if the mesh device has migrated, or is otherwise malfunctioning is a prudent course of action for a patient who is suffering from any of the above symptoms. More info at https://www.shouselaw.com/herniamesh/injuries/mesh_failure.html or call (888) 327-4652 for a free consultation. If you or a loved one suffers from a failed hernia device, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

Mesh used for hernia repair surgery has a high failure rate that can cause injuries to patients, even years after the implant. Seven common signs and symptoms of hernia mesh failure include bulging, burning, constipation, impotence and sexual dysfunction, nausea, lethargy and pain.

Depending on your injury, you may need to seek removal of the hernia mesh implant or revision surgery. You also may be able to file a claim for compensation for injuries.

In this article, we will discuss:

operating room where a patient will be treated for hernia mesh failure.
Patients who experience any of these symptoms should consult their physician right away.

1. What are the common signs of hernia mesh failure?

Hernia mesh failure means that the device used in your hernia repair surgery failed to perform as it should have. Sometimes this is due to a defective mesh product, either from bad design or improper material. Other times this is due to the surgeon's errors.

Symptoms of hernia mesh failure can arise within two weeks of surgery to several years after surgery. Complications can impact your quality of life and even be life-threatening if untreated.1

Seven common signs of device failure are discussed below:

1.1 Bulging

Bulging in the area of the device is often a sign of the mesh dislodging and causing inflammation. Some patients have bulges the size of a softball or greater protruding through their skin.

This bulging is not merely a cosmetic issue. Bulges can become an infection site, may fill with fluid (seromas or ascites), and/or spontaneously rupture.

In some patients, these bulges can take a long time to form. In others, these bulges may grow very quickly. They may also cause the patient to wrongly worry that he/she has a cancerous tumor.

1.2 Burning

Warm or hot skin in the area of the implant is also common when the device has dislodged, shrank, or disintegrated. Burning may also indicate that the device has caused an infection.

Depending on the patient, this burning may appear abruptly or slowly increase over time. The burning may also come and go.

For instance, patients prescribed antibiotics may feel some temporary relief as the medication causes the inflammation to subside. But the burning will return once the patient stops taking them.

1.3 Constipation

Defective meshes may put pressure on the stomach, intestines, or colon, causing patients to suffer gastrointestinal problems such as the inability to pass gas or stools. This is especially true for patients with umbilical hernias (where intestine protrudes through the belly button.)

Constipation itself can lead to other painful or dangerous conditions, such as bloating, hemorrhoids, or fissures. And in some cases, the act of straining to use the bathroom may cause fecal impaction or rectal prolapse.

Constipation is a common symptom of many different problems. But anyone with an implanted medical device should take their constipation symptoms very seriously, especially if increasing fiber intake or taking laxatives does not help.

1.4 Impotence

Men with mesh implants may experience sexual dysfunction. This is most common in patients with inguinal hernias (where soft tissue protrudes through the abdominal muscles).

The precise cause of the impotence varies by patient. Sometimes it is due to any inflammation or irritation caused by the mesh. Or perhaps a nerve got caught in the device. In other cases, the patient's spermatic cord can adhere to the device.

Patients who consult with urologists about their impotence should disclose right away that they have a mesh implant. Otherwise, the doctor may not consider the mesh as a possible cause of their problems.

1.5 Nausea

Like constipation, nausea is a common symptom of several different medical problems. But if the patient has an implanted device, it can be a serious sign that something is wrong.

Perhaps the mesh migrated to the patient's intestines, causing an intestinal blockage. Or perhaps it caused the stomach tissue to become infected, inhibiting digestion.

Persistent nausea can lead to other problems, including dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance. Therefore, anyone with an implanted medical device who experiences nausea or any flu-like symptoms is advised to consult with a doctor right away. 

1.6 Lethargy

It is not normal for patients to feel fatigued once they have recovered from the implantation surgery. Lack of energy can be a sign that the body is not responding well to the device, especially if the patient has a fever as well.

For instance, the patient may be having a poor reaction to the device's polypropylene material. This can create oxidative stress, which in turn causes white blood cells to create an immune response.

Feeling tired can also be a sign of infection or inflammation as the body is working overtime to fight it. In any case, patients suffering from chronic fatigue are advised to seek medical help quickly.

1.7 Pain

Perhaps the most common sign of mesh failure is pain. Pain may be at the site of the implant and/or other complications the mesh is causing. Pain may be mild or severe, acute or chronic.

It is normal and expected to feel pain in the few days following the implantation operation. But chronic pain that persists may indicate:

  • Inflammation,
  • Infection,
  • Adhesion,
  • GI problems,
  • Organ perforation,
  • Fibrosis,
  • Thrombosis,
  • Calcification, or
  • Other internal injuries2

Note that pain from a failed hernia mesh can set in months or years after the surgery. Perhaps the device worked for a while but then began to malfunction much later.

All people with device implants should stay alert to changes in their body. And if they begin to experience pain, they should consult with a doctor soon.

2. Are some patients more prone to mesh failure?

Yes. Patients with certain health conditions have increased chances of complications after hernia repair surgery. Risk factors include but are not limited to:

  • Diabetes (type I or II)
  • Chronic pulmonary obstructive disease
  • Benign prostate hyperplasia
  • Obesity
  • Cirrhosis (scarred liver)
  • Smoking
  • Chronic steroid use.3

If you suffer from these risk factors and sustained a mesh injury, you still have a legal claim against the device manufacturer or your surgeon.

3. Can you reduce the risk of mesh failure?

You can reduce the risk of hernia mesh failing if you:

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of fiber and water;
  • Exercise on a regular basis, including aerobic exercise;
  • Refrain from smoking or using other nicotine products, like vapors; and
  • Avoid heavy lifting or activities that strain the abdomen area.

If the device used in your repair surgery was defective, none of the above suggestions are likely to prevent the device from failing.

4. What should I do if I have these symptoms?

Contact your doctor right away and get a CT scan. Diagnostic imaging is often the best way to determine whether your symptoms are caused by the device.

If your doctor brushes off your concerns, seek a second or even a third opinion. Not all doctors have experience with implanted medical devices and their risks. You may need to search around for a physician who understands your symptoms.

These scans can also serve as vital evidence if you sue the medical device manufacturer and/or your surgeon.

5. If I have a hernia, should I avoid treating it with a mesh?

That is a decision for you and your doctor. Certainly, hernias do not repair on their own. In some cases, no surgery will be required. But in most cases, it will be.

Either sutures or mesh can be used to repair the hernia. Doctors tend to prefer mesh for two reasons:

  1. Recurrence is more likely with sutures; and
  2. Mesh reduces muscle tension

When repair surgery is performed -- either through open or laparoscopic surgery -- the use of mesh can help decrease the recovery time. If the device does not fail, patients are often able to return to their daily routines faster than if sutures had been used.

6. What mesh brands have the highest failure rates?

There are a number of brands that have failed patients. Some of these are subject to lawsuits today, and some of these have been recalled by the FDA as defective medical devices:

6.1 Products Lawsuits

Manufacturers Products
Ethicon / Johnson & Johnson
Atrium / Maquet, Getinge Group C-QUR, including meshes and v-patches
Covidien / Medtronic Parietex surgical, Composite, or ProGrip
  • PerFix
  • Kugel
  • 3DMax
  • Vetralex ST
  • Ventralex Patch
  • Sepramesh IP Composite
  • Composix E/X

6.2 Recalled Products




Atrium Medical


Improper Packaging -- in addition to company real, FDA recalled the device in

Bard Davol

Composix Kugel

Chance of ring breaking and subsequently causing bowel perforation or fistula



Chance of losing laminate coating and exposing mesh to organs and/or causing adhesion or bowel fistulization; packaging defect



Documented high failure rates

7. Should I get a lawyer if my hernia device failed?

You are not responsible for medical device failure, especially if it was due to a defect. The manufacturers of defective medical products are typically responsible parties.

Your surgeon may also be to blame if he/she implanted the device wrong or made mistakes during your revision surgery. In fact, many surgeons lack the training to do a successful revision surgery.

Through your personal injury attorney, you can file a claim or lawsuit to obtain compensation for any and all damages you suffered. 



  1. Food & Drug Administration. Hernia Surgical Mesh Implants.
  2. Falagas, M.E. and Kasiakou, S.K. Mesh-related infections after hernia repair surgery. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. November 29, 2004.
  3. Radu, P., Bratucu, M., Garofil, D., Pasnicu, C., Popa, F., Strambu, V. Molecular Factors of failure in Incisional Hernia Surgery. Chirurgia. 2013.

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