Do you remember the childhood board game called Operation? Children learned that surgeons require steady hands and careful concentration when operating on the human body. An ill-timed touch to the board with tweezers and… ZAP! The patient’s nose would light up and a buzzer would sound.
Unfortunately, real surgeons don’t always receive an immediate alert or warning if there is a problem with the procedure. It may be days, weeks, or even months before a patient returns with symptoms suggesting the operation was unsuccessful or resulted in post-surgical complications.
In this blog post I explain how and why infections from defective hernia mesh can cause serious harm to patients even if a surgical team is extremely cautious when conducting a hernia operation.
Signs of mesh infection
Following any surgery involving hernia mesh, some pain and inflammation at the surgery site should anticipated as the body’s own tissue grows and bonds to the mesh. However, persistent or chronic pain and swelling, fever, or discharge at the incision site are often signs of infection.
While there is a risk of infection after any kind of open wound surgery, defective hernia mesh increases the risk. When aseptic conditions are introduced, bacteria are sometimes able to colonize on the mesh. The type of material used in the mesh, the style of braiding in the mesh, and the size of the mesh patch have been linked to elevated risk of infection.
The presence of foreign materials in the body such as synthetic mesh has also been found to substantially decrease the number of bacteria present needed to result in infections.
Sometimes a biofilm – a thin slimy layer of a community bacteria – can adhere to the surface of defective hernia mesh. This biofilm can create an exopolysaccharide matrix or “skeleton” which effectively protects the bacteria from antibiotics and frustrates this line of treatment.
Unfortunately, antibiotic-resistant biofilms on mesh may require removal or revision surgery; this may mean significant tissue removal, chronic pain from scarring, or hernia reoccurrence due to the higher failure rate of additional surgeries.
What can you do?
Discovering you’ve suffered complications from surgery can be worrying. Learning that a defective medical product may have contributed to these complications, and caused you pain and suffering, is immensely frustrating. When companies market products that have not received adequate long-term testing or when they continue to distribute products that the subject of numerous distressing reports, confidence in our healthcare system is compromised and lives are needlessly put at risk.
Have you or a loved one had Hernia Mesh implanted specifically for hernia repair and had serious complications including infection, wound reopening, chronic pain, bowel obstruction, or had revision or repair surgery?