New Study Regarding Vaginal Slings, Vaginal Mesh Update

There appears to be a new study that actually speaks positively about the vaginal sling.  This study concludes  that vaginal mesh slings reduce the risk of post-surgical incontinence.  However we know at the Vaginal Mesh Helpline that the by the real life  complications our suffering women callers are experiencing that the benefits do not appear to out weigh the “pain and suffering”. According to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 21, 2012 , women who undergo surgery with a vaginal mesh sling to treat post-operative stress urinary incontinence are less likely to experience incontinence a year later, but more likely to suffer a transvaginal mesh injury like an infection, urinary leakage, and major bleeding. How nice of them to see both sides of the story here.

University of Michigan researchers compared women who went through POP surgery and were implanted with a transvaginal mesh sling with those who went through the same surgery but were not implanted with the sling. The sling used in this study was the Gynecare TVT, made by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The device is made of surgical mesh and is designed to lift the bladder and relieve pressure to prevent incontinence. The Gynacare mesh has been pulled off the market for four of the mesh implants under the Gynacare name and the fifth has a new stronger label warning for implantation thru the abdomin only. This is  hardly a positive for the Gynacare Mesh. We all know that a manufacturer, whose stock is doing well, does not just pull a money maker off the market. Obviously the negative, as in lawsuits, outweighs  the positive.

However according to  the results of this study, the transvaginal mesh sling cut in half a woman’s risk of subsequently developing incontinence. After three months, 23.6 percent of the women with the sling and 49.4 percent of those without it had urinary incontinence. Twelve months after surgery, 27.3 percent of the sling group and 43 percent of the non-sling group had urinary incontinence.

On the other hand, nearly 7 percent of those with the sling suffered bladder perforation, compared to 0 percent in the non-sling group, and 31 percent of those with slings experienced urinary tract infections, compared to 18.3 percent of those without slings. Finally, those with the sling also experienced bleeding complications (3.1 percent versus 0 percent), and incomplete bladder emptying six weeks after surgery (3.7 percent versus 0 percent).

Very interesting as we note the  announcement by Johnson & Johnson that they are discontinuing the Gynecare TVT Secure vaginal mesh. At the Vaginal Mesh Helpline we listen to women daily. They tell us their stories  of  serious, painful complications like infections, erosion, pelvic pain, urinary problems, bleeding , painful sexual intercourse and suurgery after surgery to get the mesh removed.

Cheryl Iglesia, M.D., of the Georgetown University,  has noted in a commentary  that the vaginal slings are  different from transvaginal mesh, which is often used to create broader support of pelvic organs. Slings are smaller and shaped like straps, about 1 cm wide and 10 cm wide, while transvaginal mesh sheets can span up to 10 cm wide and 20 cm long.

The study  further noted that though beneficial, vaginal slings are not without risk.  The vaginal mesh helpline is trying to locate doctors who can help women with the removal of the mesh and are advised to discuss the other options with their doctors, and  reconsider putting another mesh on top of the already failing one.

The Vaginal Mesh Helpline encourages women to step forward and pursue being a part of the current MDL litigations. A message must be sent to the manufacturers. We can help you locate a vaginal mesh doctor and first line vaginal mesh lawyer  who will not refer your case to  another lawyer because he is inexperienced in mass tort litigation. The vaginal mesh helpline does have very strict criteria and an interview process for any attorneys who wish to be involved with the helpline.