Every year, more than 100,000 hernia mesh devices are implanted in the United States alone. Although widely used by doctors in a hernia repair, hernia mesh implants have been known to fail due to design defects.
And with millions of hernia repair surgeries done in the country each year, it should come as no surprise that many patients experience hernia mesh complications after surgery, and that these victims of defective hernia mesh devices have filed a hernia mesh lawsuit due to a wide array of side effects and injuries they have suffered after the procedure.
One complication that can occur due to a defective hernia mesh is bowel obstruction. It is potentially dangerous and even life-threatening if not treated properly.
Continue reading the article to learn more about this complication and how you can possibly tell if you are suffering from it.
What is Bowel Obstruction?
Bowel obstruction is a common yet potentially dangerous hernia mesh complication. It is described as a partial or complete blockage in the small or large intestine. Obstructions can be created if the surgical mesh migrates or moves from its original location to another part of the body.
When this happens, the medical device can entrap loops of the intestines, making it hard for any liquid or food to pass through the digestive system. Bowel obstruction is a dangerous medical condition that warrants immediate treatment.
Hernia Mesh and Bowel Obstruction
How does hernia mesh cause bowel obstruction?
Hernia mesh can be implanted through open or laparoscopic surgery, although a laparoscopic surgery is more likely to cause intestinal obstruction. The hernia surgical mesh may not fully cover the surgical area properly.
Laparoscopic surgery using a hernia mesh device can also cause adhesions to form. Mesh adhesions occur when the body develops scar tissue while healing after a hernia repair surgery. This scar tissue can then attach itself to other tissue or nearby organs in the abdominal cavity, such as the small and/or large instestines.
Some of the potential causes of obstruction include inflammation of the bowel, the body’s adverse reaction to the hernia mesh implant, abdominal cancers, and a tumor inside the bowel that could block the passage.
These mesh complications can occur soon after a hernia surgery, but they can also possibly develop years after the procedure has been conducted.
What are the Symptoms of Bowel Obstruction Caused by Hernia Repair?
The symptoms of intestinal obstruction are the same whether it resulted from a hernia repair surgery or a different medical problem.
However, symptoms of bowel obstruction can vary between patients if they are suffering from a small bowel or large bowel blockages.
Symptoms of Small Bowel Obstruction
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain that comes in 5 to 15-minute waves
- being unable to pass gas through the rectum
- tender abdomen
- bloated abdomen
- rapid pulse or breathing with cramps
Symptoms of Large Bowel Blockages
- mild to severe abdominal pain
- bloated abdomen
Bowel obstructions are a dangerous medical condition that needs immediate medical attention and treatment. If left untreated, obstructions can disrupt blood flow, which can cause part of the intestine to die.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cites several recalled hernia mesh products as the leading cause of bowel perforation and obstruction.
Complications Associated with Bowel Obstructions
Complications linked to bowel obstructions can be mild to severe, and even potentially life-threatening if not treated promptly.
Two serious complications associated with obstruction are death of tissue and infection.
Tissue death occurs when blood flow has been cut to some part of your intestines due to blockages. As a result, the intestinal wall dies and he dead tissue can easily tear, increasing the risk of infection.
On the other hand, infection in the abdominal wall is also called peritonitis. Infection can occur when the intestine is punctured and its contents leak into the peritoneal cavity. This can quickly result in septic shock, which is the body’s life-threatening response to an infection.
This requires immediate medical attention, which often means the need for a revision surgery.
Other hernia mesh complications linked to bowel obstructions are abscesses, fistulas, bowel perforation, and hernia recurrence.
Treatment for Bowel Blockage
To properly diagnose a blockage, your doctor will first check your abdomen. And if there’s a suspected blockage, an x-ray or CT scan will possibly be ordered by the doctor to confirm the condition.
If your bowel blockage was caused by a faulty hernia mesh product or due to adhesion following a hernia repair, the treatment for this incidence will almost always need surgery.
This will allow the surgeon to remove the cause of the blockage, which can be a mesh device or adhesion, or both.
Other Hernia Mesh Complications
Aside from bowel obstructions, complications from the mesh include pain and discomfort, adhesion, bowel perforation, hernia recurrence, infection, mesh migration, and rejection.
After a hernia mesh repair, patients have complained about a wide array of side effects, with severe pain being the most frequent complaint, as well as their hernias coming back.
The most serious complications following a hernia mesh surgery are also some of the most common ones.
According to the FDA, the most common hernia mesh complications include:
- bowel perforation
- mesh infection
- mesh migration
- chronic pain and discomfort
- hernia recurrence
Aside from causing severe pain and being potentially fatal, most of these complications also need revision surgery to correct.
What You Can Do
Bowel obstructions are a serious medical condition which can potentially be life-threatening if left untreated. The risks associated with hernia mesh repairs can be difficult for patients to diagnose alone. You should tell your doctor that you are having the above mentioned complications and that you had a surgery to fix your hernia using mesh.
Another option for victims of faulty mesh implants is to file a hernia mesh lawsuit. Being able to hold abusive manufacturers accountable for the harm they have caused to unsuspecting patients may ultimately prevent them from causing more damages to other people in the future.
One less hernia mesh victim is one less life harmed by a wide array of injuries, side effects, complications, and additional surgeries from the device.