Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Glossary of Terms

Hernia Mesh Lawsuit in Canada – Glossary of Terms

Class Action Lawsuit

A representative plaintiff is identified to fairly and adequately represent the interests of an entire class of plaintiffs. When a court-approved settlement or court decision is reached, all members of the class action are bound to accept it. Plaintiffs will be categorized by the extent and severity of their injuries as the award is distributed and will have virtually no input into how much they believe they should receive personally.

Epigastric Hernia

A hernia located in fibrous tissue in the area between the belly button and breast bone.


Hernias occur when tissue or organs push through a muscle wall or exit a body cavity which normally holds them in place. Most often found in the abdominal region or groin, symptoms often include pain which may worsen depending on physical movement or position, strenuous activities, and actions such as coughing or urinating depending on the type of hernia present. Some hernias can be managed through lifestyle changes (weight-loss, eating habits), while others may require corrective surgery.

Hernia Mesh

A patch – made of either animal tissue or synthetic fabric – hernia mesh products are used as a bridging device to strengthen weaken or torn tissue in the human body. Hernia mesh products have been used for half a century and were considered a major medical advance in helping the success rates of initial hernia operations. In recent decades, synthetic hernia mesh products have increasingly been manufactured using a plastic material called polypropylene.

Hernia Mesh Remedial or Corrective Surgery

Although hernia surgeries are often successful, failures can result in hernia reoccurrence or complications such as infection, chronic pain, adhesion of skin, and obstruction. A defective hernia mesh product increases the risk of these complications and may also cause organ perforation, fissures, nerve damage and, in serious cases, blood poisoning and death. Hernia mesh remedial or corrective surgery either replaces or removes hernia mesh and accompanying scar tissue.

Inguinal Hernias

These hernias occur when tissue or an organ, such as an intestine, push out of the abdominal muscle wall or the fatty tissue in the groin or scrotum. This hernia can result in a bulge under the skin which may or may not cause pain. Pain can result from strenuous activities or actions such as coughing or bending.

Laproscopic Hernia Repair Operations

Sometimes called “key hole” surgeries, these operations are usually used for inguinal or femoral hernia repairs. Following general anesthesia, a small incision is made through which a thin scope can be inserted to place a mesh product. This minimally invasive surgery usually provides patients with a faster recovery period and less pain than an open hernia surgery.

Umbilical Hernias

An inguinal hernia that pushes through the belly button area of the abdomen, umbilical hernias sometimes resolve on their own without surgery.

Mass Tort Lawsuit

Generally funded through contingency fees (where legal fees are only payable if the lawsuit ends in a settlement or court award), mass tort actions allow for multiple classes of plaintiffs with similar but varying interests to sue a defendant.  Often used in medical product liability cases where assessments of the severity of injury varying widely among persons joining an action, personal injury and product liability lawyers may proceed with a few test cases to establish structures for future settlement discussions. Mass tort actions provide individual plaintiffs with the benefits of collective action and the flexibility of an individual lawsuit. For example, a plaintiff in a mass tort action may decline to accept a settlement proposal that other plaintiffs have accepted and opt to proceed to a trial or try to negotiate an alternative settlement.