Each year, thousands of people undergo ventral hernia repair surgery. A ventral hernia occurs when intestines or tissue in the abdomen push through muscle tissue. There is often a visible bulge when this occurs. The majority of hernias are caused by weakness in the muscle, combined with some type of internal pressure, allowing the tissue to push through. In many instances, mesh is used to treat ventral hernias. In fact, ventral hernias and Physiomesh commonly go together. However, many people have suffered complications following their use of Physiomesh. If you have developed complications due to Physiomesh, consult a qualified attorney that could help you recover the damages you deserve.
Three Types of Ventral Hernias
The three types of ventral hernias a patient can have are epigastric, incisional, and umbilical. An epigastric ventral hernia occurs above the belly button area when fat pushes through a muscular weak spot and is commonly caused by straining.
An incisional ventral hernia occurs at the location of an abdominal surgical incision or scar and is caused by weakness of the surgical wound area.
Finally, an umbilical ventral hernia occurs in the area of the belly button. This type of ventral hernia is usually seen in newborns or women who have gone through multiple pregnancies and is caused by pressure in the abdomen.
Using Hernia Mesh to Repair Ventral Hernias
In more than half of ventral hernia repair procedures, hernia mesh is used to close the wound area and help the underlying tissue heal. Hernia mesh can be particularly helpful with large hernias, as well as lower the risk of hernia recurrence.
There are several different types and brands of hernia mesh available to hernia patients; however, it is critical for patients to be aware of the serious side effects and dangerous health risks that hernia mesh may cause. One type in particular, Physiomesh, was taken off the market by its manufacturer because of the number of patients whom the product injured.
Physiomesh was manufactured by Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson. The company previously had serious issues with two other products they produced—transvaginal mesh and bladder slings—but still managed to gain approval for Physiomesh via the Food and Drug Administration’s fast-track approval process. The mesh was approved for patients in June 2014.
Ethicon placed the product on the market even though the company knew it posed serious—and possibly fatal—health risks to patients. The multi-layer coating of the mesh prevents it from attaching to tissue, allowing the mesh to degrade in the patient’s body over time. Not only does the hernia fail to heal in many cases, but the patient is exposed to a high risk of infection, inflammation, nerve damage, tissues, damage, perforation, and scarring, as well as the migration of the mesh and the possibility of its adhesions to organs.
The company knew these risks, yet failed to issue appropriate warnings to doctors and patients. The public was not aware of these issues until patients began having adverse reactions to the mesh.
In May 2016, Ethicon issued what is classified as a market withdrawal for Physiomesh, so it is no longer sold or used. However, it can take years for any of these dangerous reactions to take place. Although Physiomesh has been removed from the market, patients who still have the mesh should consult with their doctors about what the best course of medical treatment may be. If an individual has used Physiomesh to treat their ventral hernia and sustained complications as a result, they should consult an attorney that can advocate for them and answer any questions about ventral hernias and Physiomesh that they may have.