Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) are two very common problems for women, especially those over 40. Childbearing, age, and weight gain can all contribute to the progression of these conditions. Both can be quite embarrassing for women, as the sagging of the pelvic organs and pressure placed on the bladder can lead to “accidents” when a woman laughs, sneezes, or coughs. Both POP and SUI are far more common in older women, but younger women can also suffer from these conditions.
To counteract the problems of POP and SUI, researchers created a device known as the transvaginal mesh treatment, or TVT. TVTs combine tough, durable plastics to create a sling or net that holds up the pelvic organs, releasing the pressure on a woman’s bladder and solving the SUI problem in many cases. At first glance, these devices seemed to be the perfect solution to age- and stress-related urinary incontinence caused by organ prolapse.
However, it soon became apparent that several manufacturers had real problems with TVT devices, and that some of these problems could lead to destructive and health-damaging side effects for the women who had undergone TVT surgery. These problems led to a widespread call for an effective vaginal mesh recall, although the Food and Drug Administration has so far declined to order the recall of these products.
Between 2008 and 2010, almost 3,000 complaints were lodged with the FDA about side effects and problems from TVT procedures. In one clinical trial over 15 percent of the patients in whom TVTs has been implanted suffered severe complications. Some of the most serious complications involved erosion of the mesh into the surrounding organs. Pieces of mesh have been found in the vagina, rectum, and bladder of patients who were given TVTs. The TVT procedure can also lead to severe pain, infection, and most importantly, a recurrence of the original symptoms. Many women who had TVT surgery were forced to undergo a second surgery to repair damage caused by the TVT or to fix the POP or SUI conditions the TVT had failed to solve.
The FDA may not have chosen to recall vaginal mesh products, but it has issued statements saying that the side effects of TVT procedures are "not rare" and that other forms of surgery can provide equal or better benefits to women suffering from POP and SUI. However, it is estimated that in 2011, at least 75,000 women were given TVTs as part of the surgical repair of prolapsed organs.
If you have undergone TVT surgery, it is very important that you contact your medical professional as soon as you experience any side effects at all. TVT complications have a way of growing in severity, so the sooner you catch the problem, the easier it will be to solve. If you have suffered from side effects, it is important to contact an expert personal injury attorney immediately, as well. A faulty vaginal mesh lawyer can examine the facts of your case and advise you on the best way to seek damages for your medical bills and pain and suffering.