If you are suffering from pelvic organ prolapse or POP and are considering getting a vaginal mesh implant, it is important that you are aware of the risks involved. Designed mainly to permanently fix POP, particularly in older women and those who have undergone a hysterectomy, transvaginal mesh implant surgery has been known to cause mild to severe complications. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has issued notifications in 2008 and 2011 stating potential vaginal mesh implant complications and ordered mesh manufacturers to conduct additional safety studies.
Transvaginal mesh erosion
The first and arguably the most dangerous complication associated with vaginal mesh implants is mesh erosion or extrusion, wherein the rough edges of the mesh cut into the vaginal lining and nearby organs. If left untreated, this can lead to organ perforation, infection, bleeding, painful sexual intercourse and urinary problems.
Vaginal mesh implant surgery has also been known to cause vaginal contraction, wherein the mesh contracts and causes the vagina to shrink. This in turn leads to pelvic pain and even the inability to have sexual intercourse. Men have also been known to experience pain and irritation during sex as the penis rubs over the mesh. Other known vaginal mesh implant complications include neuromuscular problems, vaginal scarring and emotional trauma.
Another potential, though less direct, consequence of a vaginal mesh implant is corrective surgery for eroded or defective meshes. Normally conducted by urogynecologists, surgical revision or removal is often painful as the mesh is designed allows tissue to grow in and around it. In some cases, the surgery may also be performed in several sessions as the mesh is often broken up and removed piece by piece to prevent further damage to the vaginal wall and other organs. And even if the surgery is successful, it may still lead to long recovery times as well as the risk of infection.