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A hernia is a painful condition that occurs when tissue or organs bulge through a weak spot or tear in the abdominal muscle. Repair surgery is the only treatment option that can successfully repair a hernia.
Hernia repairs are an extremely common surgical procedure. Doctors perform more than one million hernia surgeries each year in the U.S., and approximately 800,000 of these procedures are to repair inguinal hernias(those occurring in the groin area).
A number of hernia patients are claiming serious complications allegedly caused by a product known as hernia mesh, which is commonly used during hernia repair surgery. Many of these patients have had to have the mesh removed after they sustained infections, punctured organs and bowel obstructions due to the allegedly defective mesh.
Hernia mesh is a medical device made of either animal tissue or woven synthetic plastic (polypropylene or polyester) that resembles a piece of window screen. The mesh is available in many sizes, patches, or plugs and some are coated with absorbable fatty acids, cellulose or collagen to protect the internal organs.
Doctors use hernia mesh to repair weakened or damaged tissue that leads to hernias, and mesh is the standard treatment for hernia repair.
There are two types of surgeries commonly performed to repair hernias:
The mesh acts as flexible “scaffolding” to repair muscle walls and prevent organ perforation. Small pores in the mesh allow tissue to grow into the implant, and most mesh repairs are meant to be permanent.
Although studies have shown that mesh is effective in hernia repair and also for preventing hernia recurrence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers that hernia mesh may be associated with a number of serious complications, including:
According to the FDA, many of the complications related to hernia repair surgery concern surgical mesh products that have been recalled and are no longer on the market.
A number of hernia mesh products have been recalled after patients reported complications including infection, adhesions, bowel obstructions, and the need for hernia mesh removal surgery.
The FDA approved surgical hernia mesh through the agency’s controversial 510(k) clearance program, which only requires manufacturers to prove that the products are “substantially similar” to other products already on the market, without requiring rigorous clinical trials, pre-market research or studies.
Patients injured by hernia mesh have filed lawsuits against manufacturers claiming that the mesh is faulty, poorly designed and the manufacturers hid these risks from consumers.
Atrium, Bard, Ethicon and Covidien have all come under fire over their hernia mesh products, and a number of lawsuits have been filed alleging that the devices are defective in design:
If you sustained serious and painful injuries associated with hernia mesh, you may be able to recover damages by filing a lawsuit if you:
Contact our legal advocates to learn more about your consumer rights.