Though no longer trending at the top of the news, the devastating consequences of defective hernia mesh continue to impact thousands of people in the United States on a daily basis. Hernia mesh is the net-like medical sheet used in over one million hernia repairs annually, accounting for 90% of all hernia repairs in the U.S.
Used to repair hernias, which occur when organs burst through weakened cavity walls, surgical hernia mesh has wreaked havoc on the lives of thousands of patients, leaving them in more pain than before. Many victims of defective hernia mesh are left suffering each year, and the complications are often only treatable through expensive – and sometimes numerous – additional surgeries to repair or remove the mesh.
In fact, thousands of personal injury lawsuits have been filed against common manufacturers of surgical hernia mesh by patients with painful to debilitating complications. A U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation report released in June 2019 revealed data on the number of pending lawsuits in federal court against these manufacturers:
● 2,478 Bard hernia mesh cases (with 7,500 more filed in state court)
● 2,167 Ethicon Physiomesh cases
● 1,403 Atrium C-Qur mesh cases
As several months have passed since the report was released, it is safe to assume that these numbers are higher today.
Complications of Defective Hernia Mesh
- Abscess or fistula formation
- Chronic pain or discomfort
- Flu-like symptoms (e.g., chills, fever and vomiting)
- Mental health issues
- Mesh erosion
- Organ perforations
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Mesh is Not the Safest Hernia Repair Option, But it’s the Only One Most Doctors Offer
California surgeon Dr. William Brown has repaired thousands of hernias in surgery, but he won’t use mesh. Instead, Brown opts to use natural tissue repair, an operation that “takes a little bit longer than the mesh and is a little more complicated because [surgeons] need to know all the muscle layers.” Pure-tissue hernia repairs involve stitching a patient’s own tissue back together (without using a surgical mesh).
Hernia mesh has long been considered the standard of care, so most patients don’t even know that pure tissue repair is an alternative option. While there are several papers that claim hernia mesh has a significantly lower hernia recurrence rate than any other form of repair, Dr. Brown notes that “many of these [papers] are sponsored by mesh companies. If you look at the authors, they are getting paid by the manufacturers.” In reality, it appears that while hernia mesh ranks lowest for recurrence, with a rate of 3%, the pure tissue repair hernia recurrence rate of 4% is nearly just as low. On top of that, pure tissue repair isn’t associated with the same rate of complications as mesh.
Unfortunately, Dr. Brown is among the few surgeons in the United States that offer pure tissue hernia revision. Finding a specialist who is willing and able to offer a pure tissue revision – and one that is affordable, no less – is simply not possible for most hernia patients. And since it is safe to assume that hernia mesh will remain the standard of care, at least for the near future, this also means that some patients will continue to face unnecessary complications.
Our law firm of Childers, Schlueter, & Smith is well-versed in drug and medical device litigation and might be able to help you or a family member who is suffering due to complications caused by a hernia mesh. If you have questions, please give us a call at 1-800-641-0098. All initial inquiries are free of charge and without obligation.
A partner with Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC,, Brandon Smith has devoted his practice to pharmaceutical litigation, mass torts, products liability and serious personal injury. A frequent guest speaker at legal seminars all over the country—Brandon is focused on helping injured victims nationwide, however possible. Named a SuperLawyer again in 2019, he has also been called out as one of 10 Best Attorneys For Georgia by the American Institute Of Personal Injury Attorneys and a Top 100 Lawyer in Georgia by the National Trial Lawyers in 2019.