Understanding Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Hundreds of women who received mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) are suing manufacturers and physicians for injuries suffered as a result of the procedure.  As the focus on damage caused by improper treatment intensifies, the interest in what causes POP continues to grow.  What exactly is pelvic organ prolapse?

Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse

For women, the relaxation of ligaments and muscles in the pelvic region sometimes allows for the intrusion of the bladder, colon, or uterus into the vagina. Upper vaginal tissue can also bulge into the lower vaginal area.  By one estimate, 40 to 70 percent of all women suffer some form of pelvic floor weakness during their lives.

Symptoms of POP are varied and include:

  • A sensation of pressure, or a protrusion, in the pelvic region
  • Bulging in the vaginal or perineal area
  • Urinary incontinence, or frequency or urgency of urination
  • Straining to defecate
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pelvic or lower back pain

Pelvic floor muscles weaken with age, leaving connective ligaments to support internal organs.  When ligaments weaken, tissue presses into the vaginal wall.  POP is more likely to occur following multiple vaginal births, after menopause, or as the result of obesity.

Treatment of POP

Mild cases of POP are treated with Kegel and other exercises designed to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. A pessary, estrogen supplements, or laparoscopic surgery can reduce or resolve symptoms.

Pelvic organ prolapse is relatively common and usually treatable. If you have suffered injury from implanted transvaginal mesh treatment for POP, be sure to seek experienced legal advice concerning your legal options.

Transvaginal Mesh: Never Tested?

Serious complications, loss of sexual pleasure, constant pain: a sad combination. Women who underwent vaginal placement of surgical mesh experience these losses daily, and wonder how this damaging procedure could have been recommended for them.

Our firm is at the forefront of Chicago attorneys aggressively pursuing compensation for victims of transvaginal mesh placement. Injuries from pelvic mesh result from failure of the medical device itself or medical error in implanting the device.

Sorting through accounts of the horrific damage done to women with implanted surgical mesh raises the pointed question of how this procedure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In 2008, the FDA issued a public health notification that warned about these devices. In 2011, the FDA issued an update, noting that serious complications are not rare and that the benefits of the procedure are no greater than those of other less dangerous options available to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

In May 2012, the non-profit organization Consumer Reports offered an in-depth article on dangerous medical devices. In discussing transvaginal mesh troubles, the authors detailed the entry of pelvic mesh kits onto the medical market by manufacturers claiming substantial equivalence to previously approved hernia repair kits.

Without recalling the product, the FDA ordered safety studies earlier this year. Since then, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon has taken four mesh kits off the market.

In 2010 alone, about 100,000 women received surgical mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse. The slipshod approval process that led to the unnecessary daily suffering of so many women must be changed — if not by regulation, then by litigation.  If you have suffered serious injury as a result of transvaginal mesh implantation, contact a personal injury attorney in our office to determine if you are eligible for compensation.

Transvaginal Mesh Multi District Litigation

Transvaginal mesh is a synthetic fiber sling that is implanted through the vagina. It is used to prevent instances of pelvic organ prolapse in women, a condition in which organs such as the bladder, uterus, and lower digestive tract begin to descend. This type of treatment has existed since the 1990s. But since that time, numerous issues with the mesh, including mesh erosion, organ perforation, pain and abdominal pressure, infections, bleeding, and urinary incontinence, have emerged. This prompted the FDA to issue a public health notification in 2008 followed by an updated advisory and safety study order in 2011.

Numerous cases — both individual and class action suits — are pending against the various companies that manufacture transvaginal mesh. The majority of the individual cases pending in federal court have been consolidated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia under one of five multidistrict cases — each against one of the major manufacturers of pelvic mesh: C.R. Bard, Inc.; American Medical Systems, Inc.; Boston Scientific Corp.; Ethicon, Inc.; and Coloplast Corp.

If you or a loved one had transvaginal mesh implantation and experienced pain, incontinence, or other side effects or had to have further surgery to have the mesh repaired, reimplanted, or removed, you may be entitled to monetary compensation from the manufacturer. As a victim, you have many options for pursuing a products liability claim. An experienced attorney at Phillips Law Offices can examine your specific situation and help you determine which course of action is best suited for you.