The repairs for hernias in the stomach area can lead to their own complications, typically resulting from hernia mesh use. Surgical mesh can affect your stomach in a variety of ways – both to your literal stomach and your general stomach area. These complications could include:
These stomach-related symptoms could be a sign of mesh failure, infection, migration, or obstruction, serious issues that will require medical intervention. Any stomach issues following hernia mesh implantation should be reported to your doctor.
Hernias that Affect the Stomach
Two hernia types can affect the stomach: hiatal and ventral hernias. Surgical mesh is often used in both scenarios to support the weak areas that caused the hernia.
This injury occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm into the chest. According to Cleveland Clinic, it can damage the esophagus and cause symptoms such as bloating, belching, and stomach pain. Mesh is used to strengthen where the hole in the diaphragm occurred.
Experiencing these symptoms after your hernia repair is undoubtedly frustrating; after all, the operation was meant to stop these problems. While feeling bloated or in pain may make you assume your hernia has returned (a possibility), those and other stomach symptoms could point to additional complications stemming from the mesh implant, especially if the mesh was improperly sterilized, secured, or produced.
These are hernias along the center, vertical line of the abdomen, and can fall into three categories, according to Cleveland Clinic:
- Stomach hernia (epigastric)
- Belly button hernia (umbilical)
- Surgery site hernia (incisional)
Any of these could affect your stomach area. Umbilical hernias are more common in children, but stomach and incisional hernias can affect anyone. Just like hiatal hernias, ventral hernias repaired with mesh could be subject to serious complications.
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Hernia Mesh Effects
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cites recalled mesh as the main source of some serious health complications. However, even normal mesh can cause stomach issues if installed incorrectly. Moreover, don’t forget those seemingly cosmetic stomach problems (such as bloating, bulging, or scarring) could be signs of a more serious issue.
How Mesh Affects the Stomach
If you are suffering from stomach pain, bloating, or nausea after a hiatal or ventral hernia repair, the mesh could have failed and caused the hernia to recur, or you could be experiencing:
- Seromas: Fluid build-up following a surgery, which can become infected
- Mesh infection: Improper sterilization techniques or defective mesh that cause an infection
- Mesh erosion: Defective mesh that breaks down on its own or is attacked by the body
- Mesh rejection: Your immune system treating the mesh as a foreign body
- Hernia recurrence or incisional hernia: The return of the original hernia due to mesh failure or the surgery itself
Some of these side effects go hand-in-hand. For instance, mesh erosion near your stomach can be caused by your body rejecting the mesh, leading to an infection. All of these scenarios can impact your stomach, interfering with its function.
How Mesh Affects the Abdomen
Even if you experienced a hernia around your stomach, you could face complications in other parts of your abdomen caused by:
- Organ perforation: hernia mesh moving from its original position and nicking an organ, causing damage, bleeding, or infection
- Bowel obstruction: an intestinal blockage caused by mesh, leading to pain, constipation, or tissue death
- Mesh migration: movement of mesh due to being poorly secured or from mesh rejection
Despite receiving hernia mesh repair in the stomach area, perforation can impact your intestines, colon, bladder, or blood vessels. Moreover, perforation, obstruction, and migration can all take time to manifest symptoms. A study in the Annals of Gastroenterology reported that mesh migration due to an inflammatory reaction from the body can take several years.
What Causes Stomach Complications
While any of the above can cause your stomach symptoms, the root cause could be negligence. Counterfeit or defective mesh is such a risk that the FDA issued a Class I recall for some mesh, as this classification is for products that can cause severe health consequences or death.
In addition to defective mesh, you could be the victim of:
- Surgical errors
- Lack of sanitization
- Poor follow-up care
- Failure to diagnose a problem
You underwent hernia repair surgery to reduce pain and return to your normal life. If your hernia mesh instead adversely affected your life and you suspect the cause was negligence, consult an attorney to learn about a civil suit.
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Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins with Your Questions
If you sustained a hiatal, ventral, or other hernia and received hernia mesh, you should know what hernia mesh does to your stomach. You could in the future (or may have already) suffered complications from the implant.
If the latter happened to you, call in the Strong Arm of Loncar Lyon Jenkins to hold negligent doctors and manufacturers responsible: (877) 239-4878.