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Not All Types of Hernia Mesh Are Safe

Published on Apr 6, 2017 at 6:16 pm in Product Liability.

When a patient suffers from a ventral hernia—a bulge of tissues, organs, or intestines that immerge from an opening in a patient’s abdominal wall—one of the safest ways to repair the hernia is by surgically inserting a bioabsorbable mesh patch over the opening in the abdominal wall. Bioabsorbable hernia patches are naturally absorbed by the body and allow the tissues to heal and become stronger over time, ensuring they’re held in place without complications.

Before 2010, most types and brands of hernia mesh patches on the market were created using components that the body could partially absorb. These patches were also made with porous materials that allow the tissues to naturally grow with the mesh itself. This prevents painful adhesions as well as reduces the chances of inflammation and infection.

In 2010, a company called Ethicon changed that with the creation of a new type of hernia mesh they called Physiomesh. Physiomesh was not required to be tested on humans since the manufacturer claimed the mesh was “similar” to other safe types of mesh. As a result, Physiomesh was rushed to market and widely used during surgeries nationwide.

The claim made by Ethicon turned out to be false. Now, years later, patients who have had the Physiomesh hernia mesh inserted have come forward reporting severe, painful reactions following surgery. Many symptoms are not made apparent until years after the mesh is surgically inserted. The most common reported symptoms include severe pain, inflammation, infection, bleeding, hernia recurrence, painful adhesions, and bowel obstruction.

As it turns out, Physiomesh is not like most other types of hernia mesh at all. Most of the reported symptoms occur when the mesh and its outer layers react poorly with the body’s natural tissues. Most mesh patches are made with a flexible, porous material that is partially absorbed. Physiomesh is coated in a hard, solid layer that’s impossible for the body’s tissues to absorb. Instead, the repairing tissues must grow on top of or around the patch. This causes painful adhesions.

In addition, since the outer materials cannot be absorbed, many patients experience symptoms of foreign body reactions. The tissues view the hernia patch as a foreign object and attempt to force it away from the abdominal wall. This causes adhesions and inflammation. It can also cause the mesh patch to shrink, migrate, or tear, causing additional hernias or seroma (fluid buildup).

After patients started reporting these issues, Physiomesh hernia patches have been recalled and removed from market. The company has no intentions of placing the patches back on the market. This recall comes far too late for thousands of hernia patients who have already had the procedure, however.

Not all types of hernia mesh are safe. If you or a loved one has had hernia repair surgery and had an Ethicon Physiomesh mesh patch inserted, you should seek medical attention immediately—even if none of the symptoms as detailed here are apparent. Symptoms may appear in a delayed manner and can have a serious impact on your health as well as the repair process of the abdominal wall.

Afterwards, you should consider contacting a Physiomesh hernia mesh lawyer like Tad Thomas at Thomas Law Offices as quickly as possible if any symptoms or negative side effects have had a serious impact on your health and lifestyle. Multiple Physiomesh hernia mesh lawsuits are in the process of being filed against Ethicon. It’s not too late to get involved and potentially receive financial compensation that can go towards the costs of surgery, recovery, lost wages, and more.

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Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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