Mesh Will I Get Complications in the Future
As I have stated in the blogs I have written this month I am on a mission! My mission is to inform women BEFORE they have pelvic mesh related surgeries which can include hysterectomy or prolapse repairs. This is because as I maintain this blog after four years of being injured myself, I read constant comments about women’s mesh related complications and they don’t know what to do, after years of suffering.
If doctors out there were doing their jobs, this blog would be unnecessary, I would not be disabled and I would be continuing on with the life I had before I was damaged by mesh. I should not have to be spending so much time digging for information to prove what is and has happened to women all around the world. Instead I could be using my time doing the things I love and enjoy and have a vastly different life and so could thousands of women who were not informed of the complications of mesh implants.
So I designated April 2014 as a month to dedicate my time to research to find answers and give women the information they need BEFORE they contemplate any pelvic surgery and to allow them to recognize the symptoms of mesh complications BEFORE their health diminishes to a point of no return.
Yesterday was Easter Sunday and for many a significant religious holiday where they enjoy church services and spending time with their families. However, many women miss all the significant memorable passages of their lives, due to serious mesh complications. Young mothers do not get to do the fun things I did with my daughter when she was a toddler. Thankfully this happened to me later in life and I have many photos and wonderful memories of making my little girl her Easter dresses. Filling a basket with special little goodies and watching her enjoy it with wonder on her face. Preparing egg hunts around our home and outside in our garden. I loved every moment of that time and still do special things for my grown daughter for a holiday I have always enjoyed and have shared with her as adults. When I was young, Easter was also a time to recognize spring is in the air and summer would soon be on the way. A precious and exciting time for all young children. Now I see photographs of children without their mothers being taken to see the Easter Bunny with a loving family member who take photos so that their mothers can see the joy on their children’s faces, while she lays in bed in terrible pain. That is why I am doing this! To stop this from happening to healthy young women because they are so unaware.
When I got up this morning I checked the comments on this blog and found this one.
“I am 31 with three kids I just had a partial hysterectomy 4 days ago with a bladder sling!! I’m not having any complications so far but I am reading all these posts and I will admit I’m a lil scared”
It truly is not my intention of scaring women and stopping them from living their lives and enjoying every day with their children. I am not crazy! I am not a scare monger with nothing else to do but get attention for myself. I am a women who reads everything said and I feel other women’s pain and take it personally.
I answered that comment with this.
“Candace I have met many young women like you and most were fine for a few years. Live your life without fear and enjoy those children but keep an eye on things as there are many side effects no one speaks of. This month I am writing about mesh awareness in hopes that women will learn the truth before surgery. Just watch your health.”
Then I read the following comment and this is why I fight so hard to create awareness of the serious complications of mesh in women, that are being ignored.
“I had a hysterectomy done in 2008. I wasn’t aware of bladder sling until after surgery. Sling came loose in 2012. Which had to be repaired. This cause my bladder to have a pocket so I wasn’t able to empty my bladder completely. This caused my infections. As of today I have constant bladder pain. I’ve seen numerous doctors. One urologist said I had bowel problems that was causing my pain. He gave me meds to help me become regular. As of today I’m still in constant pain and I can’t find any answers. I just want to feel normal again. Any suggest would be appreciate on what I should do now.”
This woman really doesn’t know what kind of repairs were done but I do. More than likely another sling was put OVER the first one and it is too tight. I know this because so many women found out after they got their hospital records for their surgeries. This lady’s comment is so NORMAL for this blog and that is what is so scary. Who will tell them the truth of what has happened to them? All I can say to her and any other woman is please go out to UCLA and get tests done and see a doctor who will tell you the truth. This is when the translabial ultrasound is so important to find the mesh. First though she needs to get the operative reports of both surgeries to find out the implant products that are in her body. I have no doubt she will be shocked at what she reads. That more than one mesh was used. Please understand your doctor’s office will not have the information you need to move forward. You need to go to the hospital(s) to get those records. You don’t need to buy everything in your file and you can ask to view them before you leave the building to make sure you have the right information. Definitely buy the operative report but if the information is not there you may need another. Read this to help you understand if it isn’t. http://meshangels.com/2011/01/report-to-the-fda/
So once again this morning I went to work on research because there is a surprising amount of new information and studies on the Internet that were not there four years ago. This takes me many hours to open links and read so that I can bring you the best information out there. My persistence always pays off and now I will share with you.
I found a link with nine pages of a study on some patients with mesh complications. However, all I can give you here are some highlights. I have given the link at the end of this so that you can continue to read.
Mesh-related complications include mainly mesh exposure  into the vagina or even the bladder or bowel, infection, granuloma, pain syndrome, dyspareunia, and voiding problems. Pelvic abscesses and rectovaginal or vesicovaginal fistula are also reported [13–17]. These complications occur in approximately 10% of patients and may lead to a significant decrease in quality of life [8–11, 18–20]. The extent of impact of mesh-related complications on quality of life has so far not been investigated thoroughly. Complications can be treated noninvasively in selected cases. However, with more severe mesh-related complications, partial or complete mesh excision is most of the time unavoidable. A recent review reported a higher rate of repeat surgery due to complications after vaginal mesh procedure compared to the rate of repeat surgery due to recurrent prolapse after conventional vaginal prolapse surgery .
Proof that all mesh products cause complications.
Patient demographics and characteristics before mesh excision are summarized in Table 1. A variety of mesh materials were excised in our population: Gynemesh™, Mersilene™, Prolift™, Ultrapro™, TVT™, TVT-O™ (Ethicon, Somerville, NJ, USA), IVS™ (Tyco Healthcare LP, Norwalk, CT, USA), Avaulta™ (CR Bard, Covington, GA, USA), Apogee™ (American Medical Systems, Minnetonka, MN, USA), EndoFast Reliant™ (Endogun Medical Systems, Kibbutz Haogen, Israel), Gore-Tex™, Mycromesh™ (WL Gore, Flagstaff, AZ, USA), Teflon™ (Davol/Bard, Cranston, RI, USA). Prolift™ was the most removed mesh material in our patients (40%). The mesh insertion surgery was performed at our center in 41% of patients; in 59%, mesh was inserted at other hospitals.
The following is important for all those women who were handed creams to take care of their problems.
Mesh-related complications were unsuccessfully treated conservatively with estrogen cream, antibiotics, and/or physiotherapy prior to mesh excision in 63% of patients. Previous mesh excision procedures were performed in 22 patients (29%). Five patients had two or more previous excisions. Three patients had undergone an earlier attempted complete excision.
Here is a paragraph that discusses how well women did after partial removals (excision) but they do not follow up after a few months. We do, because we ask women to get back to us in time just to let us know how they are doing. Sadly their symptoms come back with a vengeance and they then decide it all has to come out.
Outcomes are shown in Table 4. The majority of patients had relief, either complete relief or improvement, of mesh-related symptoms (92%). No difference was found between groups with regard to symptom relief, although five of six patients with no relief of symptoms had undergone a partial excision.
Six patients (8%) needed re-excision of mesh; all had undergone a partial excision before. Four had persistent exposure of mesh in the vagina, one had a new exposure of mesh in the bladder, while she earlier had an exposure of mesh in the vagina, and one had persistent pain. Three patients underwent additional complete excision and three had partial excision. Eventually, after this re-excision, five patients had complete relief and one had improvement of symptoms, none had exposure, none had recurrence of POP, one had de novo SUI, and one had de novo OAB.
Postoperative complications occurred after 13 surgical procedures, including hematoma (n=2), substantial bleeding (n=1), ileus (n=1), urinary tract infection (n=5), urinary retention (n=3), fever (n=2), wound infection (n=1), subcutaneous abscess (n=1), fistula from cervix to sigmoid (n=1), obstruction of a unilateral ureter and consequently blow-out of the kidney (n=1). The latter serious complication occurred in a patient who appeared to have a bilateral relative ureteropelvic junction stenosis, which probably was aggravated by the surgery. She was treated by temporary insertion of a nephrostomy catheter.
This is huge!
However, late complications may arise after a long period of time. We found mesh-related complications even up to 18 years after mesh insertion and, in 36% of mesh excisions, the time between mesh insertion and removal was more than 2 years, mostly after sacrocolpopexy. Marcus-Braun et al. found mesh-related complications up to 8 years after mesh placement; in 56%, the delay from the primary operation was more than 2 years . Time between mesh insertion and excision was longer in the group of patients who underwent complete mesh excision, probably because they have undergone more minor interventions (former partial mesh excision) to treat their complications in this period.
Prolift™ was the most removed mesh material in our patients (40%). This could be explained by the fact that, in this region, Prolift™ is the most used mesh material in prolapse repairs. Since it is impossible to generate a denominator for each mesh type and patients referred from other centers, no inference can be made on the overall incidence of mesh complications in the population or the relative complication rates related to individual mesh kits. Different types of mesh may be more likely to erode and others may be easier to excise.
I hope this will answer some questions as to whether you may have complications in time, but be assured if you do not report your complications to the FDA, the numbers they report will be far lower than they truly are and justice for women will never be done. If you do not wish to speak out openly that is fine but doing this will ensure the truth is out, without any other effort on your part.
I wrote earlier than it had been ten years since my husband’s death on Easter Sunday 2004. This year I wanted to make something unique and special for my daughter as a commemorative but also to thank her for being there for me through thick and thin. I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful daughter and I do tell her so. So I made her some Minion egg ornaments that she can use year after year, because she loves the Minion movies. Without my knowledge she entered a photo of them to the Martha Stewart site for their egg decorating contest. I was so excited when she told me that I had become a finalist in their contest. We don’t know the winner as yet as it has not been announced but these is the entrances. You can scroll through the ten characters that were chosen of which mine were included. This was such a lovely surprise for me and it made my own Easter Holiday.
I did write a blog about how I made them with step by step instructions.