WNYT.com

The trouble with transvaginal mesh.

Posted at: 02/25/2013 5:37 PM
Updated at: 02/25/2013 7:02 PM
By: Benita Zahn

 When Dick Palmatier retired from teaching 15 years ago he and his wife Yvonne planned to travel. But that was before she underwent surgery 10 years ago to treat stress urinary incontinence.

"The reason I hate to take off on the road is because I've had to stop into hospitals and I've had to stop into doctor's offices I really didn't know at all because I was in such pain" says Yvonne.

   Yvonne's repair involved the use of transvaginal mesh.,Studies reviewed by the FDA find 10 percent of women who undergo that treatment to correct prolapse experience severe, even life altering complications within the first year after surgery.
    Even surgery to correct the problem hasn't ended her trouble. She suffers recurrent infections.

"Right now I'm on antibiotic every singe day."

   In 2008 the FDA issued a warning about some of the surgical mesh on the market and adverse affects when it was used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress incontinence. Last year the warning was updated and upgraded.

" And even in the best cases, mesh like this, " says urologist, Dr. Brian Murray, "if you put it in the wrong patient or attach it in the wrong place you're going to create problems."

    Dr. Murray has been busy repairing the problems caused by the mesh. He says there was only one company, American Medical Systems that spent the time having it's product carefully studied. Other manufacturers, he tells me, jumped on the bandwagon because mesh had been used for hernia repairs in other parts of the body.
    Add that to doctors not properly schooled in the procedure and too many women, like Yvonne, are suffering.

"When we tie these things into the ligaments, it's very important to hook it to the right spot."

    Dr. Murray also says patients have to be carefully screened because mesh may not be appropriate for patients, like Yvonne, who have any type of irritable bowel syndrome, have undergone a hysterectomy, use estrogen therapy or those who've been treated for breast cancer. So talk with your doctor and don't be afraid to get a second opinion.

" Can you see a little light at the end of the road?" I ask Yvonne.

"No, no. And that's what's discouraging."

for more info on transvaginal mesh check out - http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/tc/pelvic-organ-prolapse-topic-overview