Hernia Mesh Revision Surgery & Implications for Lawsuits

Hernia mesh revision surgery can be a complication of the original hernia mesh repair surgery. Revision surgery is sometimes necessary after hernia mesh implants cause injury, like severe and persistent pain. Revision surgery, however, is more complicated and riskier than the original hernia repair surgery. It is a matter that must be discussed closely with your medical team.

If you require revision surgery after experiencing serious complications from hernia repair surgery involving a mesh implant, then you may be entitled to compensatory damages. It is always in your best interests to first seek medical attention for any pain you experience after a hernia repair surgery, and then to seek legal advice to learn if your complications are due to a defective product or medical malpractice. Our personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability attorneys are experienced in these types of cases and will review your specific situation with you. If it is believed there is a cause of action, we have the skills, resources, and specific knowledge necessary to pursue these types of complicated medical device cases.

Below is some information you may find useful regarding revision surgery as a complication of hernia mesh repair surgery. If you have questions, contact Shouse Law Group to learn more.

Hernia mesh operating room
Hernia mesh revision surgery can be a complication of the original hernia mesh repair surgery.

1. What is hernia mesh revision surgery?

Hernia mesh revision surgery is surgery performed to replace, correct, or compensate for a failed hernia mesh product. Revision surgery is more complicated than the original surgery and can be painful as much as it is time-consuming.

Revision surgery can mean that the mesh implant is removed and replaced with another one or that it is removed entirely and not replaced. In place of mesh, sutures may be used or another alternative. Whichever method is used to compensate or correct the failed hernia mesh, risks are still present -- just as there were in the initial hernia mesh repair surgery.

1.1 Why is revision surgery more complicated than the initial hernia mesh repair surgery?

Revision surgery can be more complicated than the initial hernia mesh repair surgery for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is more complicated simply because it is no longer a mere hernia repair job, but the mesh implant may need to be removed and other repairs may be needed. Second, depending on how long the mesh product has been in the body and what the exact circumstances or nature of the mesh product now, it is no longer in the same condition it was when placed in the body originally.

For instance,

  • The implant may have moved throughout the body.
  • The mesh may have broken up.
  • The mesh may have adhered to other organs or tissue.
  • The mesh may be infected.

In addition to the mesh's condition, your body's condition is also probably altered. The mesh may have punctured or perforated the intestines, the bowel, or another organ or tissue, depending where the mesh was implanted and how it has migrated. These are all serious conditions that require revision surgery to correct or compensate for the failed mesh product.

In addition to the condition of the mesh and the body, the revision surgery requires the surgeon to remove sutures or tacks used to connect the mesh to the body and keep it in place. Scar tissue may have developed around these devices, making the revision surgery more complicated.

Revision surgery usually requires a specialist, so the surgeon performing the procedure will likely not be the same surgeon you had for the original hernia mesh repair operation.

1.2 What are some of the reasons you may need revision surgery?

If you are reading this, chances are you already know the reason for your revision surgery. But typically, revision surgery for a hernia mesh repair operation may be needed after a number of known complications arise after your original hernia mesh surgery. These can include but are not limited to the following complications :

Revision surgery may also be required if mesh removal is necessary or the device used was subject to a mesh FDA recall.

2. Are there benefits and risks associated with the hernia mesh revision surgery?

As with any surgery, there are always risks and benefits when a person has an operation. And with hernia mesh revision surgery, the operation is more invasive and complicated -- as noted above -- than the original hernia repair surgery. But the revision surgery is meant to eliminate or minimize the complications caused by the initial repair surgery, and that benefit alone may outweigh any risks.

2.1 What are the risks?

There are risks associated with hernia mesh revision surgery and these risks are similar if not greter than the risks associated with the original hernia mesh repair surgery. One of the biggest risks is the risk you may need additional revision surgeries. Again, these types of surgeries can be painful and time-consuming.

The risks associated with hernia mesh revision surgery are not related to the body alone but to your mental and emotional health. One specific mental health issue is post-operative depression. Acute postoperative pain may cause depression, and depression can lower a person's threshold for pain, creating a downward cycle of increased pain and depression.1

2.2 What are the benefits?

The benefits are multi-fold and likely outweigh the risks involved. Benefits include:

  • removal of an infected, damaged, eroded, and/or recalled mesh implant;
  • repair of punctured or damaged organs and tissues;
  • repair of any nerve damage or damage to blood vessels; and
  • an end to any chronic pain associated with the defective mesh implant and associated with possible post-operative depression.

Your surgeon will advise if the mesh should be removed and in its place a newer mesh not associated with serious complications or -- in lieu of mesh altogether -- another alternative option to hernia repair to prevent the hernia from returning.

3. When does hernia repair surgery require revision surgery?

Revision surgery is required in most cases where the hernia mesh implant has failed. Your doctor will need to run tests or x-rays to obtain a better understanding of the condition of the mesh product and to ensure that it is the mesh product causing the pain or infection. Typically speaking, if any of the above-mentioned complications (under section 1.2) occur, you will likely need hernia removal or revision surgery.

Keep in mind that (1) if you have had a hernia mesh repair surgery; and (2) if there is pain in the area where the mesh was placed and it is not going away or getting any better, then your pain:

  • is likely caused by the mesh and you should see your doctor.
  • can be indicative of serious internal problems.
  • may also be accompanied by other telltale signs, like fever, chills, and swelling.

3.1 Who is eligible for hernia mesh revision surgery?

Eligibility for hernia mesh revision surgery depends on a number of factors, including:

  • How severe the pain is and how well medication addresses that pain.
  • The presence of an infection, especially infections that are resistant to antibiotics. (e.g., MRSA).
  • The condition of the mesh matters, especially if it has eroded, migrated, or adhered to other organs or tissue.
  • Whether or not the hernia has returned or recurred.
  • Whether or not the mesh has perforated or punctured another organ.
  • Whether or not the mesh product used is a recalled mesh implant.

Your doctor will examine you and evaluate your situation. All the benefits and risks of revision surgery will be outlined for you so that you can make an informed decision. You may be eligible for revision surgery even if none of the above factors are present, and that is why it is very important to seek medical attention if you have any questions at all about the hernia mesh implant used in your repair surgery and questions about any discomfort or pain you experienced after that surgery.

3.2 How often is revision surgery required after hernia repair surgery using mesh?

There are no statistics to provide an accurate estimation, but revision surgery is often a complication cited in lawsuits against hernia mesh manufacturers.

4. What are the medical expenses of revision surgery?

Revision surgery, just like the original surgery, is costly and medical insurance may not cover the entire costs of it. Expenses (past, current, and future) include things like:

  • Hospital fees
  • Examination fees
  • Surgery expenses
  • Any other medical expenses
  • Medications.

5. What are the most common hernia mesh products that have required hernia mesh revision surgery?

Revision surgery for hernia mesh has been associated with implants from a number of manufacturers. There are specific manufacturers, however, associated with hernia mesh lawsuits claiming revision surgery as a complication. The following are manufacturers who have been sued and have settled or are currently in litigation:

  • Atrium. This company is one of the largest producers of hernia mesh devices. Its C-QUR model specifically has been subject to several FDA recalls and personal injury lawsuits, including those lawsuits consolidated in multi-district lawsuits.
  • Bard Inc. This company has several a number of mesh implant products known to be defective and which have been subject to FDA recalls.
  • Covidien. This company's Parietex hernia mesh models have serious side effects and complications, subjecting the models to FDA recalls and the company to numerous lawsuits.
  • Ethicon. This company, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has been subjected to class action lawsuits and continues to be subjected to lawsuits due in most part to its Physiomesh hernia mesh implants.
  • Genzyme. This company is small, but its Sepramesh hernia mesh devices are subject to large lawsuits. Bard entered into an agreement with Genzyme after which Bard used the same Sepramesh technology for its own hernia mesh products.
  • Gore Medical. This company created the Gore-Tex material used in hernia mesh implants but has since been found to be a dangerous product. As such, the company has been subject to lawsuits.

5.1 Are these manufacturers responsible for my revision surgery?

These manufacturers very well could be held accountable for your revision surgery. Certain criteria must be present, however, to prove liability. There are four situations that can make the manufacturer liable to you and the complications you suffered after using their hernia mesh product, including the need for revision surgery, and these four situations include:

  1. The implant was defectively designed.
  2. The implant was defectively made.
  3. The manufacturer failed to warn others about the possible complications.
  4. The manufacturer, designed, or other entity was negligent.

In all of the above four situations, you must have suffered an injury that mandated revision surgery as a direct result of the mesh product and that injury must be quantifiable in terms of monetary value. What this means is:

  • You had hernia repair surgery and a mesh product was used; and
  • For some reason directly related to that mesh product and not due to your own fault, you had to have revision surgery.

In any type of surgery, if you are injured, there is the possibility that the surgeon, other medical professionals, and/or the facility is also responsible.

For example, if a doctor inadvertently left another medical device inside your body along with the mesh, then that could be medical malpractice and either he or the manufacturer or both could be held liable for your injuries.

As another example, the hospital may not have provided a clean operating room or tools, and if MRSA was present on a tool and you became infected with it, then the hospital could be held responsible either on its own or jointly with the manufacturer, depending on the facts of the case.

5.2 Are these manufacturers or other entities responsible for the complications that caused the need for revision surgery?

More than likely, yes. If it was the device that caused the complications that led to the need for revision surgery, then the manufacturer is liable for the complications of the original surgery and the need for the revision surgery. The manufacturer may also, depending on the facts and circumstances, be responsible for any complications that arise from the revision surgery, too.

6. Can I be compensated for hernia mesh complications and subsequent revision surgery?

If you have been injured by a hernia mesh implant -- regardless if revision surgery was required -- you may be entitled to compensation. There are a number of ongoing lawsuits throughout the United States. These lawsuits include or have included personal lawsuits, class action lawsuits, and multi-district lawsuits.

Hernia mesh lawsuits usually have more than one claim associated with the complaint, and these claims can include but are not limited to the following more common claims:

  • Failure to warn
  • Defective design
  • Defective manufacturing
  • Negligence.

The compensation being sought by many of these lawsuits include but are not limited to the following more common compensatory damages related to hernia mesh implants and revision surgeries:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
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7. When should I contact a personal injury attorney?

If you had hernia repair surgery and suffered complications, then you first must seek medical attention. That medical attention may lead to revision surgery. After you have been treated or when you are healthy enough to do so, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Time is of the essence because there are statutes of limitation that will bar you from compensatory damages if any are owed to you. And the chances are: if your hernia mesh was defective, then compensation is likely owed to you.

Across the country, patients have been suffering and are trying to take back some of what is owed to them via lawsuits. Across the country, we are helping these patients regain their lives. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a medical product like hernia mesh, or by a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, our personal injury and product liability lawyers are available to answer your questions. Call us at 855-396-0370 or fill out our online form to request a free initial consultation today.

References

1. Ghoneim MM, O'Hara MW. Depression and postoperative complications: an overview. BMC Surg. 2016;16:5. Published 2016 Feb 2. doi:10.1186/s12893-016-0120-y.

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