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Trans vaginal mesh, also known as pelvic mesh or bladder sling, is used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (“POP”) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Transvaginal mesh is usually made of plastic called polypropylene. The term “transvaginal” refers to the type of surgical technique used to implant the mesh – through the vagina. This type of surgical mesh was created to permanently fix pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) – conditions that typically plague women after a hysterectomy, menopause or childbirth.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

When the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman’s pelvic organs weaken, the pelvic organs can slip out of place (prolapse). To treat POP, surgical mesh can be implanted to reinforce the weakened vaginal wall. Surgery can be done through the abdomen (transabdominal) or through the vagina (transvaginal).

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

This is the unintentional loss of urine due to a physical movement or activity — such as coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting — that puts pressure (stress) on your bladder. Surgical mesh can be implanted through the vagina to support the urethra or bladder neck. This is known as a midurethral sling or a mesh sling procedure.

Doctors can surgically place the mesh transvaginally or abdominally, but inserting the mesh through the vagina is quicker, easier and less invasive.

Between 2005 and 2010, nearly 4,000 injuries were reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in connection with transvaginal/pelvic mesh devices.In the past three years, the FDA has received over 1,500 reports of complications arising from surgical mesh devices used to repair POP, and over 650 As of early 2015, more than 70,000 patients have filed lawsuits as a result of their alleging injuries from transvaginal mesh. During this time, there were seven reported deaths associated with POP repairs, three of which were related to the mesh placement procedure.

In July 2011, the FDA issued a safety alert stating that serious complications associated with surgical mesh for the repair of POP are not rare. The FDA reported that “it is not clear” that the use of surgical pelvic mesh to repair POP is more effective than traditional procedures that do not use surgical pelvic mesh. In September 2011, an FDA advisory panel recommended that mesh for POP be reclassified from a “moderate risk” to a “high-risk” medical device.

In 2011, the public interest safety group Public Citizen called upon the FDA to recall non-absorbable synthetic transvaginal surgical mesh. Public Citizen noted that the non-absorbable meshes “should be recalled because they offer no significant benefits but expose patients to serious risks and the potential for permanent, life-altering harm.”

Transvaginal Mesh Injuries and Symptoms

Erosion of the mesh through the vaginal wall

Infection and bleeding

Vaginal shortening and tightening

Bowel, bladder, and blood vessel perforation

Pain and discomfort during sex (dyspareunia)

Painful urination

Vaginal Scarring

Vaginal Stenosis

Urethral dilation

Bladder or bowel perforation

Advanced Pelvic Pain


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