When hernia mesh has broken down, caused infections or adhesions or fistulas, removal may be required. In addition, removal may be necessary if you are suffering from chronic, severe pain, experienced a recurrence of the hernia, have had your organs perforated by the mesh, or developed a bowel obstruction.
Hernia mesh removal is an invasive procedure that requires a surgeon to cut out the mesh that was originally implanted. This may sound simple, but when mesh has adhered to organs or become entangled in nerves, the removal process is much more complicated. Surgeons must remove whatever part of the mesh they can, with minimal injury to any organs, tissues, and/or nerves that the mesh may have adhered to. Sometimes, mesh removal must be completed in stages, as removing the entire mesh in one procedure can result in more complications.
Particularly when the mesh has become entwined with nerves, there is a risk that removal can exacerbate a patient’s pain or lead to a loss of sensation. This is because a surgeon often will cut out part of the nerve in the removal process, which can have a life-long effect on your body.
In instances concerning infection caused by the mesh, patients are sometimes given an option to either remove only the infected portion of the mesh or to remove the entire mesh. Although partial removal sounds less drastic, a study has shown that 81% of individuals who chose a partial mesh removal continued to experience chronic mesh infections, as opposed to only 44% when all of the mesh was removed.
It is important to note that the removal procedure is only as risky as any other surgical procedure. However, hernia mesh removal does not automatically mean that patients will experience a significant improvement in their symptoms. After recovery from the removal process, some patients find that they no longer experience any of their previous symptoms. Others, however, continue to experience complications and chronic pain. A small fraction of patients have reported greater pain after removal of their mesh.
Another factor to consider is cost. Hernia removal surgery involves not only the cost of the procedure, but the need to take time off work to rest and heal. In addition, surgery will require follow up appointments and necessitate purchasing prescriptions. If post-surgery complications arise, that means more time off, more bills, and more stress.
These costs may be compensated if you are eligible to join a class action suit against your hernia manufacturer, or if you are eligible to file a suit against your surgeon for medical malpractice. Speaking with an experienced attorney can help you determine the best way forward, so that you are not saddled with rising medical bills due to complications from an implanted hernia mesh.