Should You Use Transvaginal Mesh? Weighing the Negative Impacts of the Medical Device

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Transvaginal mesh (TVM) has been a subject of controversy and concern in the medical community and among patients for years. It was first designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). However, its usage has been linked to a variety of unfavorable outcomes, including severe problems and harmful consequences.

In this article, we will explore the negative impacts of using transvaginal mesh.

An Overview of Transvaginal Mesh

Transvaginal mesh is constructed of synthetic materials, usually polypropylene, and is surgically inserted to reinforce weakening tissue in the pelvis. It was launched as a minimally invasive treatment for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urine incontinence, both of which are common among women.

The mesh is implanted through the vagina to help support the pelvic organs or the urethra. The goal is to reduce symptoms, including pelvic pressure, urine incontinence, and pain during intercourse. Initially, transvaginal mesh was hailed as a breakthrough in women’s health, offering a less invasive alternative to traditional surgical interventions.

Negative Impacts of Transvaginal Mesh

Along with the use and benefits of transvaginal mesh, concerns surrounding its safety and efficacy began to emerge as complications surfaced. According to TorHoerman Law, many individuals who experienced these negative impacts have filed a vaginal mesh lawsuit. The cases are filed against the manufacturers for injuries, pain and suffering, and expenses.

Over 100,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits have already been filed by the victims. The latest vaginal mesh lawsuit update shows that 95% of these cases have been settled. However, attorneys still accept new cases and file them in state courts. If you or a loved one was injured and can prove liability, you can also get a settlement amount for your damages.

One of the most major concerns about TVM is its potential to induce severe problems, such as:

Mesh Erosion and Migration

The mesh can erode through the vaginal wall, causing pain, infection, and discomfort. It may sometimes migrate to nearby organs, causing further complications. Consider the example of a woman from Winnipeg who recently filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon) for their TVM.

According to CBC News, she got the mesh installed after a hysterectomy for pain due to fibromyalgia in 2008. However, instead of alleviation, the pain got even worse after the surgery. It was in 2021 when she found out that the parts of the mesh eroded and affixed to her bowels.

Chronic Pain

Many women have reported experiencing chronic pelvic pain following transvaginal mesh implantation, which can significantly impact their quality of life. Something similar happened with Anne Monie, who says that her life has been painful ever since she got the mesh implanted.

According to BBC, she saw her doctor for anterior prolapse and stress urinary incontinence in 2010. A transvaginal mesh was implanted to support her pelvic organ and help manage incontinence. However, her life has been in agony ever since the gold-standard transvaginal mesh surgery was performed.

The pain was too much for her to handle, and there was no help available in Scotland. Therefore, she had to spend £19,000 to travel to the US to get TVM removed. She says that she was fortunate enough to be able to spend such a high amount, but not all women are.


Infections are a common complication associated with transvaginal mesh surgery, often requiring additional medical intervention and treatment. A ScienceDirect study monitored 49 patients to determine the prevalence of infection in people suffering from TVM complications. It found that 44 of the 49 samples were culture-positive, indicating the presence of infection.

The most common bacteria found in the samples were staphylococci, Escherichia coli, Actinomyces spp, streptococci, and Cutibacterium acnes. These infections may occur for various reasons, including the body’s reaction to the mesh’s foreign material.

The immune system may recognize the mesh as a threat and initiate an inflammatory response. This can pave the way for bacterial colonization and subsequent infection. Additionally, during the implantation process, the risk of infection can increase if proper sterilization protocols are not followed.


Another disturbing effect described by women who have had TVM treatments is pain during sexual intercourse, often known as dyspareunia. The pain associated with dyspareunia due to transvaginal mesh complications can be both physical and psychological.

Physically, the mesh can induce irritation, inflammation, or nerve damage in the vaginal region, resulting in discomfort or suffering during insertion. Additionally, scar tissue formation around the mesh can exacerbate these symptoms. Psychologically, the persistent pain and discomfort can lead to anxiety, depression, or avoidance of sexual activity.

A woman shared her story with BBC about not getting to have sex with her husband after the surgery went wrong. She says that the intercourse has become too painful and embarrassing. According to the woman, her doctor didn’t give her the right information.

He said he had been performing the procedure for 12 years, and only a dozen people had minor problems. If she had known the complications or that alternative options were available, she would have tried them before opting for surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the controversy with pelvic mesh?

The main source of controversy regarding pelvic mesh is the negative experiences that certain patients have experienced from their treatments. Although pelvic mesh was considered an effective treatment option for SUI POP, questions have been raised about the device’s effectiveness and safety. Legal lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny have resulted from reports of serious consequences, including persistent pain, organ perforation, infection, and erosion.

What is the most important complication of mesh irregularities after positioning?

Mesh erosion or exposure is one of the most significant issues related to abnormalities in the mesh after placement. When the mesh material erodes through the surrounding tissues, it produces pain, discomfort, and even infection. Additionally, mesh erosion may harm adjacent organs, escalating issues and requiring additional medical care.

Is mesh safe in the body?

The medical world is still debating whether mesh is safe to use within the body. Some studies point to the potential benefits of mesh implants in treating specific pelvic floor problems with comparatively low rates of complications. However, others draw attention to the hazards involved with using them. Several factors, including the kind of mesh material, surgical method, patient characteristics, etc., can influence the safety of mesh implantation.

When not to use mesh?

There are several situations where using mesh might not be acceptable or wise. Individuals who suffer from specific medical diseases, such as ongoing infections or autoimmune disorders, may be less acceptable candidates for mesh implantation. People who have had pelvic operations or mesh-related issues in the past may also need to consider other choices for therapy.

To summarize, the choice to utilize transvaginal mesh should be made with prudence, taking into account the potential negative consequences and other possibilities. TVM may provide symptomatic relief to certain women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse or stress urine incontinence. However, the associated complications and adverse effects risks cannot be overlooked.

Responsible healthcare practices include informed decision-making, open communication between patients and healthcare providers, and considering alternative treatments. By weighing the potential benefits and risks, we can ensure that women receive safe, effective, and personalized care for pelvic floor disorders.

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