Rejection of Hernia Mesh Implants - Signs and Symptoms

Hernia mesh implants are indicated to repair hernias. Sometimes, however, the body rejects the mesh. When that happens, serious complications can result.

If your body rejects the mesh used in your hernia repair surgery, and you suffered injury, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit as to the hernia mesh injuries. Here, our product liability and personal injury attorneys answer questions common among patients of hernia mesh implant surgery and mesh rejection.

Mesh surgeon hand

1. What does mesh implant rejection mean?

Mesh implants are made out of synthetic or organic materials and coatings. Regardless of the materials, all are foreign to the body. When a foreign part is implanted into the body, there is always the risk the immune system may reject it.

When that happens, the immune system begins attacking the implant as though it were a virus or another substance believed to be harmful to the body. The attack sends cells to the area that causes inflammation and begins to break down the implant. If not addressed quickly enough, the implant can begin causing other complications.

2. What complications are caused by mesh implant rejection after hernia repair surgery?

When a mesh implant is rejected by the body, the integrity of the device is compromised. Though a complication in and of itself, mesh implant rejection can lead to additional complications. These complications include:

What's more: you could even suffer from dental problems, like:

  • Weakened teeth that may fall out
  • Chips that occur without explanation; or
  • Tooth infections.

Dental problems occur when your body rejects a hernia mesh implant and you suffer chronic infection.

The implant will require mesh implant removal surgery.

3. What are the symptoms or signs of mesh implant rejection?

When a mesh implant is rejected by the body, the hernia mesh fails. The symptoms or signs of a rejected mesh implant can be:

  • systemic, meaning symptoms affecting the whole body; or
  • localized, meaning the affected area is limited to the area where the hernia repair surgery was conducted (or the incision site).

Signs and symptoms most prominent for hernia mesh rejection include:

  • mild to severe swelling around the incision site;
  • pain or discomfort throughout the entire body and/or near the incision site;
  • redness at the incision site;
  • high fever;
  • chills;
  • vomiting or nausea;
  • other flu-like symptoms;
  • tenderness; and/or
  • stiffness in the abdomen area.

If any of the signs or symptoms listed above occur for no known reason, and it is soon after you underwent hernia repair surgery, then these symptoms could indicate your body is rejecting the device. You should see your doctor immediately to discuss the symptoms.

4. How is mesh implant rejection diagnosed?

A doctor may be able to tell just by looking at you and the incision site that your body is rejecting the mesh implant.

To confirm it, however, your doctor may want to take some kind of imaging (e.g., x-ray or CT scan) to obtain a better picture of what's happening before diagnosing and providing a treatment plan.

5. Will you need to have another surgery?

Yes. Anytime your body rejects a foreign object like a medical implant, it needs to be removed. That is the same with hernia mesh rejection. The longer the device remains inside the body, the more serious complications will become.

Sometimes it may be hard to distinguish between when the inflammation and pain is a natural response or side effect of the mesh implant or when it is one that is rejection-related and can lead to more severe complications. Whenever you question your health, contact your doctor to discuss it.

6. Are some mesh products more likely to be rejected than other mesh implants?

Yes. There are some mesh products that are more likely to be the subject of rejection than other mesh implants, names hernia mesh:

  • made of Polypropylene; or
  • coated with fish oil.

6.1 What are examples of polypropylene hernia mesh implants?

Most mesh products use synthetic or manmade materials to a certain extent, but polypropylene is a known problem1 but was/is still used because it's cheap and does the trick when it is not causing a complication.

Lawsuits have been filed against the following hernia mesh products due to mesh rejection and subsequent complications caused by polypropylene:

  1. Atrium Medical Corp;
  2. C.R. Bard / Davol;
  3. Covidien / Medtronic; and
  4. Ethicon / Johnson & Johnson.

6.2 What is an example of hernia mesh implants coated with fish oil?

Atrium's C-Qur mesh used a layer of omega 3 fatty acids to coat the polypropylene mesh. It had intended the fish oil coating to prevent complications caused by the polypropylene, but it only compounded them.2

  • First, patients bodies have been rejecting the fish oil coating, causing inflammation and severe pain, among other injuries.
  • Second, the fatty acid coating eventually wears off, exposing the patient to the polypropylene, thus, worsening the reaction and adding complications.
Call support2

7. When should you contact a personal injury lawyer?

If you have had hernia repair surgery and your body subsequently rejected the mesh implant, you may be entitled to compensation. Know your rights. Know the law. Contact an experienced hernia mesh personal injury and product liability attorney today.

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 at (855) 396-0370 to discuss the specifics of your case.


  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, Smith SE1, Cozad MJ, Grant DA, Ramshaw BJ, Grant SA. Materials characterization of explanted polypropylene hernia mesh: Patient factor correlation. J Biomater Appl. 2016 Feb;30(7):1026-35. doi: 10.1177/0885328215610398. Epub 2015 Oct 9; and Iakovlev VV, Guelcher S, 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.
  2. 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.

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