According to recent court filings, consumers have filed more than 5,000 lawsuits against the manufacturers of abdominal hernia mesh implants.
The FDA estimates there are more than 1 million hernia repairs each year. Hernia surgical mesh is typically used to treat inguinal or groin hernias.
Hernia mesh implants or kits can be made out of a number of materials, including polypropylene, the same material at issue in the pelvic mesh lawsuits. Surgeons use hernia mesh to try to reduce the recurrence rate of hernias and reduce recovery time. Its estimated more than 90% of groin hernia repairs use surgical mesh.
These surgical mesh lawsuits allege big medical device companies changed the basic design of hernia mesh kits years ago to make them easier to sell and implant into patients. Recent hernia mesh lawsuits claim these newer designs are defective, causing undisclosed side effects, and resulting in additional surgeries.
Common hernia mesh injuries and complications include:
- Bowel obstruction and perforation
- Migration or movement of the implant
- Adhesions / scar-like tissue
- Additional surgeries
Some lawsuits even allege patients have died from hernia mesh complications.
According to a 2016 study, nearly a third of patients experienced complications or needed additional surgery more than five years after the surgical mesh was implanted.
Many of the lawsuits alleging defective design point to the manufacturers encouraging doctors to place the hernia mesh right up against the patient’s bowels. The companies are telling doctors this is ok because the mesh has a special coating to protect the bowels. The suits claim there is no adequate science backing up these claims.