Not all hernia meshes are made the same and some are more likely to migrate, erode or tear than others. They are comprised of a variety of materials, are made in various weights or thicknesses and are surgically implanted using several different techniques. If you had hernia mesh surgery or are considering it, you should be aware of these torn hernia mesh causes and symptoms.
Causes of Torn Hernia Mesh
There are several reasons why a hernia mesh may tear, such as:
- Erosion – This is when mesh breaks down in the body. For example, Johnson & Johnson’s Proceed hernia mesh is sanitized using radiation which causes the polypropylene (a type of surgical plastic) to break down over time. When the mesh breaks apart, pieces can migrate to other parts of the body and create adhesions (when the mesh connects to the intestines) or the sharp edges of the mesh can injure organs and tissue.
Bard’s 3DMax mesh also has been known to erode through soft tissue. When this happens, it tends to attach to the spermatic cord in men which can lead to severe sexual dysfunction, testicle pain and possibly even the loss of a testicle.
- Product tears – In the instance of Physiomesh, the polypropylene material that it was made out of was too lightweight and would tear easily. This caused the material to move around in the body causing the sharp edges of the mesh to tear internal organs, cause bowel obstructions and create other painful injuries.
- Product failure – Bard Davol created the Kugal mesh with a uniquely designed ring in it that would expand to fit the size of the tear in the muscle wall. Unfortunately, the ring can break off and cause bowel perforations or a chronic enteric fistula (abnormal connection between the bowel and skin) which can be extremely painful.
Another example of product failure is the Bard PerFix Plug. It was used for inguinal hernias (when the intestines push through the tissues in the pubic area). Male patients have found that this mesh can become unwoven over time which can cause pain or even complications that can lead to the loss of a testicle.
- Mesh shrinkage – Parietex hernia mesh was made out of polyester and can tear at the site where it’s connected to the tissue with sutures or surgical tacks allowing sharp fragments to migrate to other parts of the body causing damage. Other meshes have also been known to shrink causing tears in the mesh or the painful pulling of the tissue that it’s attached to.
Torn Hernia Mesh Signs
If your hernia mesh has eroded or has a tear, you may experience the following symptoms and you should call your doctor immediately:
- Difficulty passing a bowel movement or gas
- Nausea or vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms (such as fever and chills)
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Severe headaches
- Meshoma (tumor-like bodies that form when the mesh bunches up)
- Incision isn’t healing properly
- The incision site is unusually warm
These ailments could be symptoms that your hernia mesh may be infected, you may have a bowel obstruction, you’re experiencing nerve damage or possibly your mesh (or pieces of it) migrated. Contact your doctor immediately to prevent further damage or complications.