In every surgery, there are expected postoperative side effects. These are changes that a patient is likely to experience following a procedure. On the other hand, however, there are also some issues that are not expected to happen after a surgery. In this case, these are called complications.
And although they’re unexpected and a bit rare, complications are still a possibility in every surgery. Take, for example, a hernia repair surgery. Aside from common side effects, the operation can also come with complications. In particular, however, hernia repair completed with a surgical mesh device has been stirring a lot of controversies for years now.
According to the latest hernia mesh lawsuit update 2022, thousands of plaintiffs have filed a claim against hernia mesh manufacturers after they suffered from serious complications following a hernia surgery that used a mesh device.
Below, you will learn about possible complications after a hernia mesh repair. We will also help you determine when you can sue the makers of hernia mesh devices for these injuries.
What complications can result from a hernia repair surgery?
Hernia mesh complications are not expected to happen after a hernia repair. But not matter how rare they are, they’re still a possibility in these procedures. Some of these complications may also require revision surgery to help treat the complication.
Complications can also result in long-term health problems or prolonged recovery time after surgery.
Some of the most common complications associated with any type of hernia mesh surgery include:
- Recurrent hernia
- Testicular complications
- Chronic pain
- Risks of anesthesia, including heart attack and stroke
The above listed hernia complications also occur at different times following surgery. While some may occur immediately, other complications can also present after a very long period of time. Learn more about these complications in detail below.
One of the most common postoperative complications of hernia mesh repair are infections. In fact, according to studies, infection occurs in up to 8 percent of patients following an open incisional hernia repair surgery. Patients with obesity, diabetes, and immunosuppression may also have a higher incidence of infection. Meanwhile, not surprisingly, the risk of infection decreases to 0.98 to 2 percent with laparoscopic surgery.
Infections may either come in a mild wound infection or a full blown deep mesh infection. A mild skin or wound infection can occur in three to ten days while a deep mesh infection can present anywhere between ten days to a few years after surgery.
Signs and symptoms of infection from a hernia surgery completed with surgical mesh include:
- Redness at the surgical site
- Warmth at the incision site
- Increased abdominal wall temperature
- Other flu-like symptoms (chills, nausea, and vomiting)
Some mesh products that are associated with higher rates of infection are the Ethicon Physiomesh and Atrium C-QUR mesh. In fact, these mesh devices have been the subjects of lawsuits because of mesh-related infections.
Both are made of polypropylene mesh, a type of synthetic mesh that’s known for causing adverse effects in patients.
Adhesions refer to bands of scar tissue that form when normal tissue is disturbed by an injury or surgery. They may develop in the body as part of its healing process or in response to the insertion of a foreign object such as hernia mesh.
In particular, when scar tissue occurs in hernia repair patients, it develops around the mesh implant and bonds the device with other organs or tissue. However, in rare cases, organs brought together by the scar tissue may grow together, resulting in these organs not functioning normally.
Ultimately, this causes a variety of health problems. Adhesions can also lead to other hernia mesh complications, including:
- Bowel obstruction
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
- Blocked digestion
- Painful urination
Unfortunately, this hernia complication is often difficult to detect even with the use of x-rays or other imaging techniques. In fact, the presence of an adhesion may only be diagnosed while you undergo surgery for other comorbidities.
However, as with any other procedures, a new surgery has another set of risks and complications. Adhesions that are treated with a medical procedure actually have an increased risk of recurrence.
This happens when a band is separated and the two ends adhere to other tissue or organs.
Hernia recurrence is another complication that patients commonly have after a hernia repair surgery. Surgeons started using hernia mesh devices to avoid this problem. And even though hernia recurrence rate with a mesh surgical repair is lower when compared with a non-mesh surgery, it can still occur in patients.
One study revealed that the risk for a repeat surgery for hernia recurrence was 17.1% in non-mesh repairs, 12.3% in open surgeries, and 10.6% in laparoscopic hernia surgeries.
This hernia complication can also result from various activities, behaviors, and conditions that weaken the abdominal muscle after the initial hernia repair. Some risk factors for hernia recurrence include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Heavy smoking
- Heavy lifting
- Taking steroids or other medications that compromise the immune system
A seroma is a fluid buildup that develops under the surface of the skin where surgical incisions or where tissue was removed. Seromas usually occur after major operations such as a hernia surgery, especially in cases when a significant amount of tissue was removed.
This injury typically shows up two to four weeks after the surgery. Seromas form when there’s damage in the body and it naturally sends clear fluid to fill those damaged areas. These parts filled with fluid will look like lumps under your skin.
A seroma becomes a problem when the bodily fluids under the skin become infected. In several cases, this infection can result in an abscess. An abscess is a painful collection of pus that results from a bacterial infection. Abscesses can appear on the skin, under the skin, even deep within the body.
Seromas caused by hernia mesh surgery can lead to serious and long-term problems in patients.
A hematoma is a collection of clotted blood outside of blood vessels. It occurs when a blood vessel wall, vein, artery, or capillary has sustained damage and blood has leaked into tissue where it doesn’t belong.
Hematoma is a common complication after inguinal hernia repair. Ample rest of around three to four days after the procedure may help in reducing a patient’s chances of developing a hematoma.
Testicular atrophy is a rare complication of inguinal hernia repair. It’s also one that often results in litigation. Testicular atrophy refers to the shrinking of your testicles. One study that investigated nine patients who developed this complication found that one major risk factor for testicular atrophy is previous groin or scrotal surgery.
Chronic postoperative pain is known to be more common after an inguinal hernia surgery, which is the procedure done to fix an inguinal hernia or groin hernia. It is described as any pain that lasts more than three months after surgery.
Persistent postoperative pain can also result in neuropathic pain, a nerve-related pain experienced by patients for more than three months. In some cases, the pain can be so severe that it affects one’s ability to perform simple tasks such as sitting or walking.
Risks of Anesthesia
Heart attack, heart failure, and stroke are some rare but serious risks of general anesthesia. And although uncommon, some patients react to anesthesia differently compared to others.
According to a study published in the journal Anesthesiology, more than eight million adults worldwide have heart attacks after surgery each year. 10% of these patients die within 30 days.
What’s more alarming, however, is that another study says that 85% of these injuries or heart attacks may be missed due to lack of warning signs.
When can you sue for complications resulting from hernia repair surgery?
You may be eligible to file a hernia mesh lawsuit if you developed complications that resulted from mesh devices. Other conditions that may qualify you for a lawsuit include:
- You underwent surgery to fix your hernia and mesh was used for the operation.
- You received a mesh device that has a manufacturing, design, or warning defect.
- Suffering from serious injuries including adhesions, mesh migration, infection, and organ perforation, among others, more than 30 days from the date of your initial surgery
- The defective device caused your injury
- You had revision surgery or additional surgery to treat complications
- The injuries you sustained can be quantified in financial terms.
How can you report hernia mesh complications to the FDA?
You should always report adverse effects or complications from a medical device to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, it is better to report your injuries first to your doctor. After all, they can help you deal with the side effects or complications you may be having.
However, if you sustained substantial injury due to a hernia mesh device, your doctor should report it to the regulating agency. In particular, if the hernia mesh implant fails within three years following surgery and the same surgeon who implanted it also removes the device, that surgeon should let the manufacturer of the implant know about your injury.
If surgeons continually file these reports to the makers of mesh devices, those manufacturers have the legal obligation to inform regulators about the situation.
As a patient, however, you also have the right to directly report your situation to the FDA as well.
How can you tell if a complication is caused by a defective hernia mesh device?
The symptoms of complications from a defective mesh product can often be mistaken as common side effects that are expected after a hernia repair. In this case, you might want to know first whether or not the mesh implant used in your operation has been subject to a recall by its manufacturer or the FDA.
You can do this by learning the product identification of the mesh implant. You can try getting in touch with the medical records department of the hospital where you had your surgery. Another option is to have your personal injury attorney compile these records for you.
Depending on the specifics of your case, you may have a case against the product manufacturer. If the lawsuit is successful, plaintiffs may be able to recover compensation that will help them pay for all of their medical bills and expenses, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.
Here’s How We Can Help
If you believe you’re experiencing complications after a hernia mesh implant was used in your surgery, it doesn’t matter whether you experience them immediately or years after the procedure. Always make sure that you consult with your doctor for your injuries.
Some of these complications can potentially be life-threatening if left untreated. After you’ve received proper medical attention, another option is for you to contact a hernia mesh lawsuit attorney who can help you determine whether or not you are eligible to file a lawsuit.
We know, however, how it can be frustrating to think of pursuing legal action while dealing with hernia mesh complications. But we’re here to take that pressure off of you. We can connect you with a group of experienced attorneys who can help you be informed about your legal rights.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today to know more about your options concerning your hernia mesh claim.