A BBC Derbyshire programme reported that up to 170,000 people who have had hernia mesh implants in England in the past six years could face complications. 570,000 operations using a mesh to repair the hernia were during this period. Some of the patients found it difficult walk or work and others left suicidal.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency continues to back the use of hernia mesh. Mesh is used in more than 90,000 hernia operations in England each year. It is said one in 10 people will develop a hernia. Today surgical mesh is used more often than the traditional way of repairing the hernia with ligature and sutures. Today 90,000 to 100,000 hernia mesh operations are done in England each year.
And leading surgeons believe the complication rate is 12-30% - which means between 68,000 and 170,000 patients could have been adversely affected in the past six years. Mesh has been used for hernia repairs since the 1990s, so the total number who have experienced complications since its introduction is thought to be much higher.
But NHS trusts in England have no consistent policy for guidelines on treatment or follow-up with patients.
The Royal College of Surgeons said mesh implants were the "most effective way" to deal with a hernia.
Dr Ulrike Muschaweck, a leading hernia surgeon in the private sector here in UK, said she used a suture technique - instead of mesh - for most hernia operations but this method was dying out because young surgeons were rarely taught it. She said she had performed 3,000 mesh removals because of chronic pain - after which only two of the patients had not gone on to become "pain-free".
Dr Suzy Elneil, a consultant urogynaecologist who was a leading voice in the successful campaign to halt the use of vaginal mesh on the NHS in England. For a patient who has a problem with the mesh, the cost of removing the mesh, a further operation to repair the hernia and followup care is estimated will cost a minimum of £25,000.
It is similar to the predicted cost for those treated for vaginal mesh complications.
The FDA reports: "That the most common adverse events following hernia repair with mesh are pain, infection, hernia recurrence, adhesion, and bowel obstruction. Some other potential adverse events that can occur following hernia repair with mesh are mesh migration and mesh shrinkage (contraction)".
"Many complications related to hernia repair with surgical mesh that have been reported to the FDA have been associated with recalled mesh products that are no longer on the market. Pain, infection, recurrence, adhesion, obstruction, and perforation are the most common complications associated with recalled mesh. In the FDA’s analysis of medical adverse event reports to the FDA, recalled mesh products were the main cause of bowel perforation and obstruction complications."
Hernia Repair by Mesh Causes Problem in 12 to 30% Patients
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