Hernia Recurrence After Mesh Surgery

Hernia recurrence occurs when a hernia returns after hernia repair surgery. Mesh devices were meant to prevent hernia recurrence, but because of complications stemming from defective mesh implants, recurrent hernias often materialize. If you have experienced a recurrent hernia as the result of a defective mesh implant, you may be entitled to file a medical device hernia mesh lawsuit regarding the same.

At Shouse Law Group, we want our clients to be informed. Below, learn all you need to know about recurrent hernias and hernia mesh lawsuits. Then, if you have additional questions, contact us at 855-396-0370 to set up a free initial consultation.

Hernia mesh

1. What is hernia recurrence?

Hernia recurrence occurs when a patient's hernia comes back after he or she has had a surgical mesh inserted.

Surgical mesh is meant to reduce hernia recurrence, but it does not eliminate it. In some cases, it has actually increased a patient's chance of suffering from a recurrent hernia due to the mesh's defective design or manufacture.

2. When is a patient entitled to file a hernia mesh lawsuit due to hernia recurrence?

Generally speaking, a patient can file a hernia mesh lawsuit due to hernia recurrence when the following circumstances are present.

  1. The patient had hernia repair surgery and the repair was made with a mesh implant.
  2. The mesh implant was defective.
  3. The defective mesh device was the direct and proximate cause of an injury, including hernia recurrence.
  4. The injury resulted in compensatory damages.

A hernia mesh lawsuit is a medical device product liability lawsuit. That means if the device was defective, then the designer, manufacturer, and/or seller of the device is/are strictly liable for economic and noneconomic damages stemming from any injuries. You do not have to prove fault in a defective medical device strict liability lawsuit. If you were injured by the faulty device, then you should be compensated accordingly.

If, on the other hand, you were injured by a medical professional's negligence, then you may have a personal injury medical malpractice claim. That claim may have nothing to do with the hernia mesh device used in your hernia repair surgery.

2.1 What qualifies as an injury from a defective mesh implant?

There are a number of injuries that can result from a defective mesh implant. The most common injuries from defective mesh implants include:

It is important to remember that there are risks and complications that can arise from any surgery, including hernia repair surgery. An injury only qualifies for compensation when the injury was not the result of known risks of the surgery but the result of a defective device.

2.2 When does hernia recurrence qualify as an injury for a product liability claim?

A recurrent hernia is not uncommon among patients who have had hernia repair surgery. There have been many studies that suggest the same. One study, published in 2009, reported that 2.8% of patients who had undergone hernia repair endoscopic surgery ended up with a recurrent hernia within ten years.1 In another study, it found that patients experiencing hernia recurrence often do so based on family history, the age (older patients at more risk than younger patients), and if the patient was/is a smoker or not.2

Thus, hernia recurrence is not uncommon and can be expected. If a patient experiences a recurrent hernia, the patient should not automatically assume it is the result of a defective medical device. A medical professional should be able to identify the cause of the recurrent hernia. Hernia recurrence must be the result of the defective device in order for it to qualify you for a claim.

2.3 Are there any mesh devices more susceptible to causing hernia recurrence?

Any defective mesh product can be the cause of hernia recurrence because, when the mesh fails, conditions are reset for the hernia to reoccur. There are, however, some mesh products that have been recalled because of their high rates of causing recurrent hernias. Two examples include:

  1. Ethicon's Physiomesh Composite Mesh was recalled voluntarily by Johnson & Johnson.3
  2. Versatex Monofilament Mesh was recalled by the FDA in 2018 due to patients reporting high rates of hernia recurrence.4

3. What are the symptoms of hernia recurrence?

If you have had hernia repair surgery and mesh was used, then you want to be mindful of any pain you experience both directly after the surgery and even years to come. Some of that pain or discomfort may be associated with hernia recurrence.

The symptoms of a recurrent hernia include:

  • bulge at site of previous surgery
  • pain
  • infection
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of blood supply to the intestines.

If you experience any pain, infection, vomiting, or other symptoms that do not have a known cause, then you should suspect it may be related to your repaired hernia. You should seek medical attention as soon as you can because there are risks associated with hernia recurrence.

4. What are the complications of hernia recurrence?

Complications associated with hernia recurrence are primarily twofold:

  1. infection; and
  2. recurrence repair surgery.

An infection can become serious and lead to life-threatening conditions. It can start with pain near the site of the hernia or it may not. There may be swelling. The swelling may be warm or tender to the touch. Infection is also usually accompanied by fever, headaches, and possible nausea or vomiting. Infection, if identified promptly and treated properly, can usually be cured without incident. If left untreated, an infection can worsen and may be harder to remedy.

As for the risk of surgery to address a recurrent hernia, the complications are serious. Surgery for a recurrent hernia is twice as complicated as the initial surgery because the surgeon must tend to the hernia as well as to complications arising from the initial repair. Mesh, if it was used for the repair, will need to be removed. Mesh can migrate and/or adhere to tissue or other organs, making it difficult to remove. It also makes for a longer recovery and puts the patient at increased risk of infection.

5. How is hernia recurrence treated?

Recurrent hernias are challenging, more so than the initial hernia. Unlike an unrepaired hernia, recurrent hernias after repair surgery always require surgical intervention. There are two methods for surgical treatment:

  1. laparoscopic recurrent hernia repair; and
  2. Open recurrent hernia repair.

Recovery for either of these surgical treatments may last up to three weeks. It is important to contact your doctor if, after three weeks, you experience fever, seromas, or any other unexplained illness or medical condition.

5.1 What is laparoscopic recurrent hernia repair?

Most recurrent hernias are repaired using laparoscopic repair. This method is less likely to weaken abdomen muscle. Plus, the method is able to avoid scar tissue that may have developed from the initial hernia repair.

5.2 What is open recurrent hernia repair?

If the mesh has migrated, adhered to another organ or tissue, or if the recurrent hernia is otherwise complicated, then open repair surgery may be the best option. Via this method, the mesh can be removed and muscle and tissue affected by the mesh can be repaired.

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6. When should I contact a product liability attorney for a hernia mesh lawsuit?

Recurrent hernias can be painful and complex. You should always visit your doctor when you believe the hernia has returned or if there are other signs of complications. After addressing your medical condition, you may want to contact an attorney to determine if you have a case. In order to file a claim for compensation, the injury must be the fault of the medical device and not a “known” risk caused by the surgery itself, or other factors, like family history, age, health, and smoking.

At Shouse Law Group, our product liability attorneys collaborate and put forth the best argument for each of our clients. We have offices throughout California, Nevada, and Colorado, but -- with regard to hernia mesh lawsuits -- we represent clients throughout the United States. To learn more about hernia mesh lawsuits and to find out if you may qualify, contact Shouse Law Group today.

References

1. Staerkle RF, Buchli C, Villiger P. Patient satisfaction, hernia recurrence rate, and chronic pain 10 years after endoscopic total extraperitoneal inguinal hernia repair. Surg Laparosc Endosc Percutan Tech. 2009 Oct;19(5):405-9. doi: 10.1097/SLE.0b013e3181bb1bce.

2. Jansen PL, Klinge U, Jansen M, Junge K. Risk factors for early recurrence after inguinal hernia repair. BMC Surgery 20099:18. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2482-9-18.

3. Johnson & Johnson Medical. Urgent: Medical Device Removal, Ethicon PhysiomeshTMFlexible Composite Mesh (All Product Codes). May 27, 2016.

4. FDA Class 2 Device Recall Versatex Monofilament Mesh, Sofradim Production. April 26, 2018. Recall No. Z-1523-2018.

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