Hernia mesh implants may be rejected by the patient’s immune system as a foreign object, particularly if the mesh material includes polypropylene or fish oil. As the body attacks the mesh, serious complications can result including pain, infection, migration, perforation, and hernia recurrence. In many cases, the patient will require a revision surgery.
If your body rejects the mesh used in your hernia surgery, you may be entitled to file a hernia mesh lawsuit. Here, our product liability and personal injury attorneys answer questions common about hernia mesh rejection.
- 1. What does implant rejection mean?
- 2. What complications are caused by implant rejection after hernia repair surgery?
- 3. What are the symptoms or signs of implant rejection?
- 4. How is mesh implant rejection diagnosed?
- 5. Will you need to have another surgery?
- 6. How long does it take for your body to reject hernia mesh?
- 7. Are some mesh products more likely to be rejected than other implants?
- 8. When should you contact a personal injury lawyer?
Mesh implants are made out of synthetic materials or organic materials and coatings. Regardless of the materials, all are foreign to the body. When a surgical mesh implant is put 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 medical device. If not addressed quickly enough, the implant can begin causing other complications.
When an implant is rejected by the body, the integrity of the device is compromised. Mesh implant rejection can lead to additional hernia mesh complications. Symptoms of hernia mesh rejection may include:
- pain at incision site (surgical site)
- infection or chronic infection
- scar tissue
- mild to severe pain
- chronic pain
- perforation of the abdominal wall
- abdominal pain
- bowel obstruction / blockage
- bowel perforation
- other organ perforation
- mesh migration
- hernia recurrence
- hernia mesh infection
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 an implant and you suffer chronic infection.
In rare cases, hernia mesh failure may be life-threatening. The implant will require implant removal surgery.
When an implant is rejected by the body, the device fails. The symptoms or signs of a rejected implant can be:
- systemic, meaning symptoms affecting the whole body; or
- localized, meaning the affected area is limited to the area where the hernia mesh surgery was conducted (or the incision site).
Signs and symptoms of 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;
- 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 mesh repair surgery, then these symptoms could indicate your body is rejecting the device. You should seek medical attention immediately to discuss the symptoms.
A doctor may be able to tell just by looking at you and the incision site that your body is rejecting the 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 is happening before diagnosing and providing a treatment plan.
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 whether the pain and inflammation is a natural side effect of the implant or is a sign of rejection. Whenever you question your health, contact your doctor to discuss it.
It varies per patient. Sometimes hernia mesh rejection occurs within a few days of the repair surgery. Other times, the rejection can occur months or years later.
Yes. There are some hernia mesh products that are more likely to be the subject of rejection than other implants, especially if they are:
- made of Polypropylene; or
- coated with fish oil.
Most types of hernia repair products use synthetic mesh or manmade materials to a certain extent. Despite being problematic, polypropylene is still used because it is cheap and effective if no complications arise.1
Lawsuits have been filed against the following hernia mesh products due to device rejection and subsequent complications caused by polypropylene:
Atrium’s C-Qur device used a layer of omega 3 fatty acids to coat the polypropylene material. The fish oil coating was meant 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 anyway, exposing the patient to the polypropylene.
If you have had revision surgery and your body subsequently rejected the implant, you may be entitled to compensation by the mesh manufacturers through a hernia mesh lawsuit. 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 to discuss the specifics of your case.
- 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 device: 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 devices 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. Also see the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) site.
- 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. See also Tanushree Saha et. al., Nanodiamond-chitosan functionalized hernia mesh for biocompatibility and antimicrobial activity, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research (June 30, 2021). See also Yansha Qiao, et. al, Filament-anchored hydrogel layer on polypropylene hernia mesh with robust anti-inflammatory effects, Acta Biomaterialia (July 1, 2021). See also Daniella Feher, et. al., Early and late effects of absorbable poly(vinyl alcohol) hernia mesh to tissue reconstruction, IET Nanobiotechnology (December 15, 2020).