The sudden onset of an infection or pain months or even years after a hernia operation can feel jarring. At that point, enough time would have passed that you may not associate it with the surgery.
However, mesh recipients can develop side effects over time, such as:
- Chronic pain
- Nerve damage
- Mesh migration
- Bowel blockage
- Organ perforation
- Hernia recurrence
While these conditions can emerge immediately following surgery, experiencing them years later could make identifying their source harder. If your doctor does not link your symptoms to hernia mesh, proper treatment may be delayed, worsening the impact of the side effects.
Chronic Pain Takes a Toll
Pain after any abdominal surgery is normal. Pain months or years after the procedure is not. Cleveland Clinic highlights the difference between acute pain, associated with surgery, and chronic pain, which lasts for months.
Consequences of chronic pain could be:
- Limited mobility
- Lack of energy
- Changed relationships
- Anxiety and depression
- Avoidance of activities
- Decreased earning capacity
Chronic pain takes a toll on mental and emotional health on top of physical well-being. If you have suffered from this, contact medical and legal professionals to discuss options.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-777-7777
Mesh Migration Leaves a Wake
Ideally, mesh stays in place to support the weak area that caused the hernia. However, some negligent doctors improperly implant mesh, causing it to move from its intended location. Mesh migration can occur years after its implantation, either gradually or suddenly, potentially lodging in the intestines.
It can also leave holes in organs and blood vessels, causing internal bleeding or nerve damage. Any of these scenarios can produce infection.
Obstruction and Perforation
Hernia mesh is a foreign element in your body, and when it comes loose from its intended place, it can obstruct the bowels. Obstruction is akin to choking the intestine, only instead of blocking air, it blocks blood and creates digestive problems.
Mesh can also perforate organs, either directly or due to an obstruction. Remember that your intestines and colon carry away waste. Therefore, a perforated bowel can leak that waste into your abdomen and bloodstream, causing serious infections like peritonitis.
In reality, many hernia mesh complications ultimately lead to infection, some of which can become chronic, manifest symptoms over time, and cause long-term damage. The mesh itself can even become infected if not properly sterilized.
When mesh becomes infected, it is rarely possible to salvage the material, according to The Journal of Laparoendoscopic & Advanced Surgical Techniques. The only solution is another surgery to remove the infected mesh.
Adhesions Can Be Delayed
A side effect of almost all abdominal surgeries is tissue similar to scarring, called adhesions. This tissue does not always pose a problem but can, in the long term, cause side effects, such as:
- Attachment to intestines or the abdominal wall
- Pulling of organs out of place
- Intestinal blockages
- Chronic pain
Some mesh has special coatings designed to prevent adhesions. However, the coating may break down over time. If you suffer delayed adhesion complications, your side effects could have been caused by doctor error or faulty mesh.
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Why Some Side Effects Manifest Later
Some of these long-term complications, such as infection or pain, may feel baffling to experience months or years later. Nonetheless, hernia mesh migration, for example, can take time to occur and perforate an organ. This can lead to a sudden infection or bleeding years after the operation. The issue may have been developing for some time without your knowledge.
Doctors and authorities acknowledge the existence of long-term side effects. A 2016 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that the good done by hernia mesh is mitigated by complications that occur over time, sometimes even five years later. Likewise, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has highlighted possible complications, emphasizing that defective or recalled products are often responsible.
You Have Legal Recourse
Depending on the cause of your long-term side effects, you could file a medical malpractice or product liability lawsuit. If a doctor or healthcare worker did not take proper precautions in sanitizing or implanting the mesh (or made another error), you can hold them liable. Similarly, if the mesh manufacturer created a defective product or the seller sold counterfeit mesh, you can pursue them.
Chronic pain can impact your quality of life and relationships, while infection and other side effects can create large bills and require a long recovery. Your hernia mesh lawsuit could help cover:
- Surgery expenses
- Prescription medication
- Medical and insurance bills
- Reduced earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium (companionship)
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You Could Use a Strong Arm
Loncar Lyon Jenkins represents hernia mesh patients. If you underwent a hernia repair operation, suspect you are suffering from complications, and are now wondering what the long-term side effects of hernia mesh are, call our office today to have your questions answered: (800) 777-7777.