Talking about transvaginal mesh (TVM) can be confusing. There are words like “polypropylene,” “mesh migration,” and “pelvic organ prolapse” that can be difficult to understand. Additionally, sometimes words seem interchangeable like “sling” and “mesh.” Here are a few things that you need to know if you have or are thinking about having a TVM implant.
Slings vs. Mesh
First of all, transvaginal mesh – commonly abbreviated to TVM – covers both slings and mesh. TVM is usually made out of a plastic called polypropylene. It looks somewhat like a window screen and the plastic itself is many times used to make fishing line.
Slings are mainly used for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and are commonly referred to as “tapes.” This is because the mesh is cut into a long, thin strip much like a piece of scotch tape. SUI occurs usually in women who have given birth and in women who are 44 years old and older. SUI is when a woman laughs, coughs, or sneezes and then experiences urine leakage. The sling supports the tube that urine passes through (called the urethra) and the neck of your bladder (where your bladder connects to your urethra) to help prevent leaks.
There are also two types of slings: pubovaginal and suburethral. A pubovaginal sling has a minimally invasive surgery involving a small vaginal incision where the sling is placed under the urethra to support the organ. A suburethral sling sits around the urethra and is actually attached to the abdominal wall. This is a more invasive procedure and requires a couple of days in the hospital following the surgery.
Now let’s talk about mesh which is primarily used for pelvic organ prolapse (POP). POP is when some of the vaginal walls are weakened and then the bladder, rectum, small bowel and/or uterus sag near or in the vaginal opening. As you can imagine, it’s going to take a bit more than a skinny tape-like device to hold all these organs back where they belong. Mesh can be used to support these organs like a hammock.
Slings and mesh sound great, right? I mean, who wants to leak pee or have their organs protruding from their vagina? However, tens of thousands of complications have been reported among TVM patients including mesh erosion (when the mesh breaks apart), migration (when the mesh moves around in the body), tissue and organ damage (which happens when the sharp edges slice surrounding areas), and dyspareunia (where the mesh lodges in the vagina and causes painful sex). There are other procedures and devices – such as colporrhaphy and pessaries – that don’t have these harmful lasting adverse effects. When you think about it, women have been having babies and have been aging for thousands of years without using harmful TVM. Why is this dangerous device being put in women at all?!
TVM is truly a crime against women. This defective plastic breaks, slices, and creates irreparable damage causing women to no longer be able to work or function in daily tasks due to the excruciating pain. It also harms relationships because of the physical and mental stress it imposes and due to the lack of physical intimacy resulting from broken mesh (if it moves into the vagina, the sharp edges can slice the penis). These women are suffering, embarrassed, angry, and have lost so much… all so that big pharmaceutical companies can make a lot of money.
If you had complications that needed mesh removal, please contact Periscope Group today. We would love to hear your story and we want to help you if we can. TVM is a dangerous product that was never fully tested and has ruined tens of thousands of women’s lives around the world. It’s time that your voice is heard!