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Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas
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Transvaginal mesh complications are hell

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In September 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services held a forum that centered on “diagnosis proposals” and on new CMS medical diagnostic codes, in effect billing codes, for the treatment of transvaginal mesh erosion and exposure. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had requested the codes in 2009.

Participants were asked to submit their diagnosis proposals and other ideas, timely enough, by Nov. 19, 2010, two years ago to the day.

In this anniversary golden oldie, obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. C. Sage Claydon, who specializes in urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery, was a presenter. The expert summarized the “abdominal sacral colpopexy, which is a procedure where we surround the top of the vagina with a mesh” in order to correct pelvic organ prolapse, in which, according to the Food and Drug Administration, pelvic “organs bulge (prolapse) into the vagina.” It is also intended to repair stress urinary incontinence or the “leakage of urine during moments of physical activity,” as the FDA puts it.

Thousands of vaginal mesh patients suffer from serious and painful injuries, which is the reason victims are plaintiffs in vaginal mesh lawsuits. They are trying to recover damages for their own physical suffering, for the failed mesh’s impairment of marital relations, and for other costs.

Let us turn to the surgeon’s explanation of what can happen when the vaginal mesh does more harm than good.

“When we place those same types of meshes — and these are polypropylene meshes, the same ones that the general surgery uses for hernia repair — when we place those meshes vaginally, two things can happen,” Claydon told the forum, setting the stage for practical definitions of mesh exposure and mesh erosion.

Her explanations can lead any reader to one overriding conclusion, which can be stated in any number of ways. This is one way: Vaginal mesh “erosion” is hell.

“[T]he meshes can also find their way into the bladder, into the urethra, into the rectum and/or into the muscle, the pelvic floor muscles, in such a way that they’re extremely difficult to remove, and we typically call that mesh erosion,” Claydon said. “Mesh erosions are associated with a whole host of problems related to having a foreign body where it does not belong. So a foreign body in the bladder, a foreign body in the bowel, a foreign body deep in the pelvic muscles surrounded by nerves. It can cause pain, infection and a whole host of complications, and that’s a difficult thing to treat.”

Likewise, vaginal mesh “exposure” is a needless fast track to perdition.

The physician continued as follows: “The vaginal skin wouldn't heal over the mesh, but the mesh will grow into the muscle of the vagina, making it very difficult to get the mesh out so, we’ll have to take the patient back to the operating room, cut the mesh out and try to reposition skin over. And we typically refer to that as mesh exposure because we can see it, the patient can feel it, it’s causing discharge and dyspareunia.”

Claydon added, “Exposures typically cause dyspareunia, which is painful intercourse, for the man or the woman, vaginal discharge and annoyance, and they can get bigger over time. So, these codes are to distinguish the difference.”

The FDA reported 15 months ago that vaginal mesh injuries also include “organ perforation and urinary problems. There were also reports of recurrent prolapse, neuro-muscular problems, vaginal scarring/shrinkage, and emotional problems. Many of these complications require additional intervention, including medical or surgical treatment and hospitalization.”

What a mesh.

The sufferers of vaginal mesh injuries are victims of a recklessly harmful medical device, and the vaginal mesh attorneys at Reich & Binstock [www.reichandbinstock.com] are proud to fight for them. In a vaginal mesh lawsuit, those who are entitled to compensation will want the experienced medical device litigators of Reich & Binstock on their side. The first step is simple, and it costs nothing. Call one of the vaginal mesh attorneys at Reich & Binstock toll-free at 1-866-LAW-2400 for a free-of-charge consultation to determine whether damages are recoverable.