Incontinence is a common problem that afflicts anywhere between 20 – 40 percent of women. In order to prevent embarrassing and uncontrollable releases of the bladder, approximately 208,000 women each year receive mesh implants during corrective surgeries. Unfortunately, women who received these implants may not have been properly warned about the risks. Complications resulting from the implant of bladder slings include erosion, whereby the mesh implant fails to properly bind to the abdominal tissue, leading it to poke through the vaginal tissue. This complication may be painful and irreversible.
Free Bladder Sling Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured or suspect that you may have complications directly linked to a bladder sling, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.
Bladder Slings: An Overview
Mesh has been a staple in surgical procedures since it was first introduced in the 1950s, when mesh was used in hernia repairs.
Since then, mesh implants have evolved to be used in other procedures. Viewed as a minimally-invasive alternative to traditional surgeries, the FDA approved mesh implants in the treatment of incontinence in 1996 and to treat pelvic organ prolapse in 2002.
These implants quickly became a preferable option for women seeking relief from their symptoms. In 2010 alone, 75,000 women received transvaginal mesh implants to treat pelvic organ prolapse. An astonishing 208,000 women received implants for incontinence and bladder leakage.
Sadly, women who received these bladder sling implants may have unknowingly put themselves in harms way.
To date, the FDA has received at least 3,979 reports of injury, death and malfunction associated with transvaginal mesh products, leading the agency to declare that complications were “not rare.” The most commonly reported complication is called erosion, a condition that occurs when the body rejects the implanted mesh, causing the mesh to protrude through the vaginal wall.
How Does a Bladder Sling Work?
Stress urinary incontinence is a condition characterized by an uncontrollable release of the bladder. These releases usually occur following physical activity such as exercising, sneezing, coughing or laughing. Between 20 – 40 percent of all women are affected.
Most cases of incontinence can be treated with simple exercises. However, surgery is necessary in more serious cases.
When this surgery is conducted, mesh is placed underneath the urethra for support. This mesh creates a “sling” and is designed to help prevent urinary loss.
Pelvic organ prolapse, or POP, is similar to incontinence. It is a condition that is common in women, especially those who have given birth, but it can occur in women who have never had children. Like in the case of incontinence, most cases of POP may be treated with simple exercises. However, surgery may be necessary in some cases. Anywhere between 30 – 50 percent of women will experience POP in their lifetime.
POP occurs when the pelvic organs begin to bulge (or prolapse) into the vaginal wall, as a result of weakening tissues around the organs. This condition may cause pain or discomfort, especially as more than one organ may prolapse at a time.
During a POP surgeries, mesh is inserted through small stitches made in the vaginal wall to reinforce the weakened vaginal wall and support bulging organs. Because the mesh is cut to fit the organ it supports, each implant is unique.
Complications of Mesh Slings
When vaginal mesh implants do not properly bind to the pelvic tissues, the body begins to reject the mesh. When this happens, the mesh may begin to shrink and erode. Erosion is a painful condition where the mesh begins to poke through the vaginal tissues, sometimes past the vaginal wall.
Complications resulting from erosion of a bladder sling may include infection, bleeding, vaginal discharge, organ perforation, pelvic pain, vaginal pain, neuromuscular problems, dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), inability to engage in sexual intercourse, new onset of urinary incontinence, vaginal scarring or shortening, mesh contraction, and decreased quality of life.
Some victims require surgeries to correct the complications and alleviate pain. In many cases, however, it may not be possible to fully remove the implant. This leaves victims vulnerable to a lifetime of discomfort.
What Can I Do?
Currently women around the country are filing lawsuits against bladder sling manufacturers, seeking compensation for complications caused by failing mesh inserts.
In July 2012, manufacturer C.R. Bard was found liable for $3.6 million in damages after a jury concluded its Avaulta Plus vaginal implant injured a woman and caused the need for at least 9 corrective surgeries.
During the trial in state court, Brad was found negligent in its handling of the device as it didn’t properly test the product before putting it on the market.
Additionally, federal bladder sling complication cases are currently being compiled into multi-district litigations, or MDLs. These MDLs lump together similar cases under one court to allow for quicker legal proceedings, allowing victims to receive compensation faster.
In the Southern District of West Virginia, U.S. District Judge heard opening statements on February 5, 2013 in the federal case against C.R. Bard.
If you sustained an injury after receiving a bladder sling during surgery, you are not alone. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. You may want to contact a bladder sling complications attorney to discuss the potential of your claim.
Do I Have a Bladder Sling Lawsuit?
The Medical Device Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in mesh lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new bladder sling complications lawsuits in all 50 states.
Free Bladder Sling Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured or suspect that you may have complications directly linked to complications from a bladder sling, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.