The Gynecare Prolift mesh implant is a device manufactured by Ethicon, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. In March 2005, Johnson & Johnson introduced this device as the most innovative solution for women who suffer from weak pelvic muscles. However, since its introduction, there has been thousands of lawsuits by women who claimed that they have suffered serious injuries from the use of this product.
This mesh implant was designed to help women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, which happens when a woman’s pelvic floor muscles weaken due to child birth, estrogen loss, or menopause. A weakened pelvic floor cannot support internal organs such as the uterus, bladder and vagina, and as a result, these organs prolapse.
The mesh implant acts as a lift to hold up the prolapsed organs. It is inserted through a vaginal incision and secured internally in the groin area through several additional incisions.
As more and more women sought this solution for their weakened pelvic condition, more and more reports surfaced citing complications after surgery. These complications include severe bleeding and infection from the mesh cutting through the wall of the vagina and eroding into adjacent organs. Other complications include painful intercourse, vaginal bleeding, build-up of scar tissue, and urinary problems. There were several cases of complications so severe that they resulted in death.
Because the Gynecare Prolift mesh implant is made from a nonabsorbable polymer, women who suffer from complications had to go through numerous surgeries to have this mesh removed. Even after the mesh was removed, many women still experienced pain.
Medical researchers concluded that the mesh implant provided no added benefit over other forms of treatment for pelvic organ prolapse. Between 2008 and 2010, reports of injuries from these devices increased fivefold. Fifteen percent of women suffered from mesh erosion within the first year after surgery.
Because of the mounting number of lawsuits, Ethicon decided to discontinue sale of the implant in June 2012. In February 2013, the first case over the Gynecare Prolift mesh implanted resulted in a $3.35 million award for the plaintiff.
To date, there are thousands of lawsuits against the manufacturer of this product. Despite the fact that this verdict holds promise for other pending cases, many women who used these implants will still suffer from lifelong pain and permanent damage to their bodies that will negatively affect their qualify of life.