For decades, doctors have been using hernia mesh patches to repair hernias.
And even though hernia mesh manufacturers say their meshes are composed of biologically compatible materials, it is still possible for your body to reject hernia mesh.
When this happens, serious complications can follow.
In this article, you’ll learn more about why hernia mesh rejection happens, what are its symptoms, and when you can seek immediate medical treatment if your body rejects the hernia mesh.
A hernia is a common medical problem that can affect men, women, and even children.
It occurs when a tissue or organ squeezes through a weak place in the surrounding tissue or muscle of the abdominal wall.
One common but major surgery used to fix hernia is a hernia repair.
During a hernia repair, the surgeon makes an incision to open your skin and then gently returns the organ to its appropriate place, sewing the hernia mesh over the weakened tissue in order to strengthen it.
There are various types of hernias, depending on the body part that is affected.
However, the most common type of hernia is the inguinal hernia.
Inguinal hernia generally affects men. It occurs when tissue or organs protrude through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles and into the groin.
The use of hernia mesh has been considered the most common form of treatment that every year, more than 100,000 of these devices are implanted in the United States alone.
However, hernia surgery also comes with significant risks and myriad complications.
Studies have found that these medical devices are linked to a high failure rate, which led to thousands of plaintiffs filing a hernia mesh lawsuit in order to seek justice for the complications they have suffered due to the medical device.
Hernia mesh complications include adhesion, bowel obstruction or perforation, infection, migration, and rejection.
After mesh repair surgery, patients have also reported symptoms of mesh failure, pain, and hernia recurrence.
What is Hernia Mesh Rejection?
Any time a surgeon implants a medical device in the body, there’s always that risk of autoimmune rejection, which means the body’s immune system may reject it.
Since hernia mesh is not a natural part of the body, the immune system considers the device as a foreign object.
When this happens, the immune system begins attacking the surgical mesh as well as the tissues surrounding it to protect the body.
However, this response can lead to a chain reaction.
And when the mesh implant and the body do not interact properly, it can result in a myriad of serious complications.
What are the Symptoms of Hernia Mesh Rejection?
When your body rejects the hernia mesh, you will experience signs and symptoms that your body is not tolerating the mesh implant.
Signs and symptoms of hernia mesh rejection include:
- high fever
- pain or discomfort
- mild to severe swelling at the surgical site
- redness at the surgical site
- nausea or vomiting
- difficulty passing gas or stool
- difficulty urinating
- abdominal stiffness
- other flu-like symptoms
Aside form these symptoms, patients can also suffer from dental problems which stem from chronic infection.
Symptoms of dental problems in patients who bodies are rejecting the hernia mesh include:
- weakened teeth that may start to fall out
- unexplained chips
- tooth infections
Chronic pain is also a symptom of hernia mesh rejection. The pain may become so weakening that it interferes with your daily activities in life.
If you have underwent hernia repair surgery and you begin to experience the above signs or symptoms soon after the procedure, then it may be a sign that your body is rejecting the surgical mesh.
Patients may need additional surgery for mesh removal or revision of the repair.
You should seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms occur.
How Long Does it Take For Your Body to Reject Hernia Mesh?
The human body rejects hernia mesh more often than people may realize.
Especially today when most hernia repair involves sewing a surgical mesh over the hole to avoid hernia recurrence.
In some cases, mesh adhesion may occur.
Hernia mesh adhesion is a complication described as the growth of scar tissue that connects tissues together.
Patients may experience chronic, severe pain as the only symptom of mesh adhesion, a condition that can lead to life-threatening bowel obstruction.
To prevent this occurrence, manufacturers have developed different materials such as absorbable coatings. However, this problem still occurs in some hernia mesh surgeries, as their effects eventually wear off after seven to thirty days.
In fact, a 2009 study published in the British Journal of Surgery found that the body absorbs this coating or protective barrier over time, increasing the risk of adhesion for patients.
Once this happens, patients may develop chronic pain which could eventually lead to bowel obstruction.
Can You Be Allergic To Hernia Mesh?
The short answer? Yes. You can be allergic to hernia mesh.
Patients who have experienced mesh complications can attest to this, especially patients who have had their implanted devices rejected by their body.
The materials making up the mesh can be a factor why your body may have rejected the implant.
The mesh implant comes in different shapes and sizes, and they can also be derived from human or animal tissue, and synthetic (man-made) material.
Studies have shown, however, that mesh made of both materials have the possibility to fail after hernia repair surgery.
Moreover, some mesh products are also more likely to be rejected compared to other implants.
These are the polypropylene mesh and other meshes coated with fish oil.
Most hernia repair surgeries use synthetic mesh, but the polypropylene mesh is known to cause more problems for patients.
However, to this day, it is still being widely used primarily because it is cheaper and does the job in cases when it does not cause complications.
Hernia mesh lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers for complaints over their polypropylene meshes. These companies include C.R. Bard, Atrium Medical Corp., Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson.
What Problems Can Hernia Mesh Cause?
Hernia mesh can cause complications including migration, adhesion, bowel obstruction, bowel perforation, infection, and rejection.
Patients have also reported symptoms of pain, hernia recurrence, and failure following a hernia mesh surgery.
Problems caused by the device may occur immediately after the surgery or even years later.
Hernia Mesh Complications
The most serious complications caused by the hernia mesh almost always need revision surgery to correct.
The following are the most common complications from the use of surgical mesh:
Excessive Pain and Discomfort
Patients often complain of excessive pain and discomfort after the surgery. In fact, these two are the most common signs that one is experiencing hernia mesh complications.
Depending on the type of hernia and the site of surgery, pain can occur anywhere near the abdomen, testicle, groin, and leg.
These complications can also lead to long-term pain that lasts from three to six months and even up to several years.
Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that can often form and fuse the mesh implant and bowel together.
Adhesions can also form if a coated implant is used to repair ventral hernias.
This could lead to potentially life-threatening bowel obstructions.
In case the implant moves after surgery, it can possibly migrate through the abdomen.
Mesh migration can result in adhesions, fistulas, and bowel obstruction or perforation.
Serious complications can also come in the form of an infection.
Sometimes, they are minor infections around the surgical or incision site and could be treated with antibiotics.
However, it can also be a deep or chronic infection which are more severe and can cause patients to notice redness and feel warmth around the area of surgery.
The hernia mesh may also cause bowel obstruction, which occurs when there is a blockage in the small or large intestine.
If the device moves, it can result in difficulty in passing gas or stool, if not completely making it impossible.
This is a potentially dangerous condition which needs immediate medical attention.
Surgeons often turn to hernia mesh in order to prevent hernia recurrence.
However, it can still happen after a surgery aimed to repair hernia.
Other hernia mesh complications such as adhesion and device migration could also potentially lead to hernia recurrence.
What You Can Do
No matter what complications patients experience, surgery may be necessary to remedy the damage caused by the failed hernia mesh.
If you have suffered from side effects or complications because of rejection, you may be eligible to join the legal battle against the companies or manufacturers who caused your side effects.
Filing a hernia mesh lawsuit does not have to be a tedious process.
As we are aware of the complications that these defective devices may have already caused you, we are here to help.
Get in touch with us today and we will help you with the necessary legal steps you should take in order to make the manufacturers of these potentially defective medical devices accountable.