Hernia meshes are designed to help patients recover from their painful condition, but recent years have seen a rise in the number of complaints due to hernia mesh complications, such as mesh rejection. Here are some hernia mesh rejection symptoms to watch out for, how they can hurt you financially and what you can do about it.
What Causes Mesh Rejection?
Hernias can either be repaired via sutures, where the surgeon stitches the sides of the damaged/weakened tissue walls back together, or by using a mesh to act as a bridge. Meshes were found to reduce recurrence rate because the implant helped to strengthen the tissue wall, preventing the organ from pushing through again.
However, some people have experienced complications, such as mesh rejection. Mesh rejection is when your body recognises the mesh as a foreign object and actively tries to remove it. Your body will always recognise the mesh as a foreign object - meshes don't naturally belong in your body, after all. However, they aren't supposed to cause adverse side effects.
Synthetic meshes, such as composite, are more likely to be rejected, due to them not being made from natural materials, than bio meshes which are made from human or animal tissue.
What are the Hernia Mesh Rejection Symptoms?
Signs that your body may be rejecting the mesh implant include:
- Flu-like symptoms e.g. fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, malaise.
- Chronic and intense pain.
- Wound not healing as it should.
- Swelling, tenderness and/or inflammation of the surgical site.
- Wound feeling hotter than normal to touch.
Be aware that hernia mesh problems can affect you years later - not everyone experiences adverse side effects days or weeks after the surgery. That's why you need to closely monitor your surgical wound and keep an eye out for any strange symptoms.
Flu-like symptoms are a particularly important one to watch out for. It's normal to feel a little under the weather following a surgery, but pay attention to how long it lasts. If the feeling of malaise persists, it could be a sign of something more serious. It could be because your body is rejecting the mesh and treating it as though it's an infectious foreign object.
If you experience symptoms like the above, it's important that you seek medical advice as soon as possible. Leaving them for extended periods of time can cause further issues to develop.
For example, mesh rejection may cause the implant to move to somewhere in your body that it shouldn't. Known as mesh migration, this can cause the implant to adhere to organ walls (usually the bowel), which can then lead to bowel obstruction, contortion or even erode into and perforate its walls. Not only will this cause internal bleeding, but you'll suffer even more pain, infection and require corrective surgery.
Ignoring symptoms may result in complications that have an irreversible and permanent, not to mention negative, effect on your life.
How Can These Symptoms Hurt You Financially?
Severe hernia mesh complications won't just affect you physically. They can also hurt your bank balance.
Surgery Costs (Initial and Corrective)
Unless you're lucky and the mesh doesn't cause you any trouble at all, it's not just the initial hernia repair surgery that will cost you. If you experience severe complications, whether it's due to chance or because you ignored your symptom for too long, you may need to have corrective surgery. And that will cost you too.
Additional Treatment Costs
Your complications may have a long-lasting or permanent effect on your life. This can lead to you requiring medication, physical therapy and other types of treatment to manage the symptoms. This also adds to the cumulative costs.
Time Off Work (Past, Present and Future)
If you've experienced complications, you may have needed to take time off work to recover or for the corrective surgery. Or it might be a combination of both. Whatever it might be, this will have resulted in a loss of income as you cannot work. If the complications are particularly severe or even permanent, this may result in further loss of income in the future, or you might lose your job altogether.
Time Spent Chasing the Hospital, Surgeon and Other Healthcare Providers
If you're experiencing adverse side effects and complications that you think are a result of your mesh implant, you need to be sure that they are actually due to that. That's why you need to contact the hospital, your surgeon and any other healthcare provider that might be able to help. You need to find out which mesh product was used for your surgery - in case it's a mesh that was recalled due to research revealing they caused severe complications.
Although you have a right to access your medical records, hospitals can charge up to 75 cents a page for paper copies (depending on differing state laws) or some other sort of administration fee. This can be costly and highly time-consuming.
Pursuing a Lawsuit
Some people have been filing claims against certain mesh manufacturers due to their faulty products. If you decide to pursue a legal path, know that lawsuits are not cheap processes, nor are they quick. Hernia mesh lawsuits are particularly complex and as there have been so many of them made in recent years, they can take several years before the manufacturers are willing to discuss settlement figures - never mind closing the case.
However, the benefits of a successful lawsuit outweigh the drawbacks. If you have experienced hernia mesh complications that have impacted your life for the worse, you should consider filing a claim. You were offered a solution for your hernia troubles and have now been left with more issues than ever. You deserve compensation for this negligence, especially when it's been suggested that some mesh manufacturers have continued to market their mesh products, despite a lack of clinical research to support their proposed benefits.
Are You Eligible to File a Claim?
Before you file a lawsuit, you need to check that you're eligible to make a claim. There's criteria in place for this and at the moment, lawsuits can only be filed against these two products and their respective manufacturers:
- Physiomesh by Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson - recalled in 2016 because it was found to cause a high rate in corrective surgeries.
- C-QUR by Atrium - recalled after people suffered painful allergic reactions to the mesh's Omega-3 coating which was supposed to help reduce inflammation.
Contact your surgeon or hospital to find out which mesh was used for your hernia repair surgery. Then, contact a qualified and experienced attorney to look at your case. This is the quickest way to find out if you're eligible. At Coxwell & Associates, we offer free hernia mesh consultations. Speak to us for free and find out whether you’re eligible to claim compensation.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.