Torture. The word might bring to mind prisoners of war and the excruciating pain sometimes inflicted upon them as a means to obtain information or revenge.
It’s a powerful word and it shouldn’t be used lightly – yet it’s one that victims of defective hernia mesh have used to describe a life filled with debilitating chronic pain.
In this blog post I describe why and how defective hernia mesh products can cause chronic pain and some options available for victims of these products.
What causes chronic pain?
Chronic pain – defined as persistent or intermittent pain lasting longer than three months – can be the result of many different factors ranging from normal aging, underlying disease, or traumatic injury.
The body’s response to protect against injury or disease is often an initial inflammatory reaction. If this inflammation persists, results in scar tissue formation or otherwise damages surrounding nerves, chronic pain can develop.
It’s estimated that 1.5 billion people worldwide experience some form of chronic pain. In its most serious forms, it can reduce a person’s flexibility, mobility, and strength. As a person attempts to cope with this pain and its physical effects, they may also experience negative psychological effects.
How can hernia mesh cause chronic pain?
Statistics suggest chronic pain develops in about 5-20 per cent of cases following hernia repair surgery. Sometimes the pain results from a hernia recurrence itself, but surgical techniques involving permanent mesh implantation or problems from defective mesh itself can also bring on this pain.
Defective hernia mesh may result in a “foreign-body” reaction. As the body’s immune system rallies its defences against this foreign material, the surrounding tissue becomes inflamed and causes pain. Although this inflammation resolves on its own in many cases, if it continues the pain associated with the reaction can become chronic.
Chronic pain from defective mesh can also be the result of mesh migration through soft tissue, mesh contraction, infection or nerve irritation.
Overcoming the pain
Victims of defective hernia mesh have described various sensations when describing their chronic pain. It may present as a burning feeling, an ache, or sharp pains which may seem like electric shocks. Experiencing this kind of pain for a prolonged period of time with little or no relief can truly feel like a form of torture.
Often remedial/revision surgery is required to either replace or remove the defective mesh entirely – though sometimes surgery is not an option.