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Bowel Obstruction After Hernia Mesh Placement


Many hernia mesh patients have suffered a bowel obstruction after having the device placed, potentially because of special coatings applied to the mesh. Millions of Americans suffer from hernias each year, and many must undergo surgery to have them repaired with artificial mesh. Unfortunately, the coatings placed on certain devices eventually wear off. As a result, the mesh can adhere to the intestines, causing an obstruction. 

A man suffering from a bowel obstruction
Bowel obstructions are one of the many commonly experienced complications in hernia mesh patients.

Patients who have suffered bowel obstructions and other serious complications have already begun filing claims in the hernia mesh lawsuit to hold the negligent manufacturers responsible. If you or a loved one has suffered hernia mesh-related complications months or even years after the initial procedure, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your suffering and medical expenses. Contact our legal team to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.

What is a Bowel Obstruction?

Bowel or intestinal obstructions are blockages that prevent food and liquids from moving through the small intestine and colon. Blockages can also affect the blood supply to the affected portions of the digestive tract. Without immediate treatment, portions of the intestine can begin to necrotize, leading to severe and potentially life-threatening complications.

Causes of Bowel Obstructions

There are a number of potential causes of bowel obstructions, including:

  • Scar tissue and adhesions that form following surgical procedures on the abdomen
  • Crohn’s disease, which causes chronic inflammation of the intestine
  • Diverticulitis, or infected pouches within the intestine
  • Colon cancer

Ironically, hernias are another common cause of bowel obstructions, as are the mesh devices commonly used to repair them. Many of the hernia mesh devices currently available are created using polypropylene, which can cause serious complications if it comes into direct contact with certain tissues.

Bowel Obstructions and Hernia Mesh

In an effort to prevent such complications, manufacturers have applied various biocompatible coatings, which serve as a barrier between the intestinal tissues and the polypropylene. Unfortunately, those biocompatible materials are eventually absorbed by the body, leaving no barrier in place. As a result, the mesh can form an adhesion, which can lead to bowel obstruction.

The Atrium C-Qur™ mesh, in particular, was listed in a 2009 study published in the British Journal of Surgery. The study found that for the first seven days, the coating on the C-Qur™ mesh protected the intestine from adhesion, but the coating degraded significantly in the days that followed. It is likely that this degradation led to a significant increase in adhesions and bowel obstructions.

Symptoms and Complications of Bowel Obstructions

Bowel obstructions may present symptoms that seem insignificant at the time, but without prompt medical attention, can result in life-threatening complications:

  • Sporadic pain and cramping in the abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Trouble passing gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling or bloating in the abdomen

Without immediate treatment, a bowel obstruction can reduce the intestine’s blood supply, which can cause the tissues to die. The death of these tissues can cause tears in the intestines, which can then lead to an infection of the abdominal cavity known as peritonitis. This infection is often life-threatening and most patients must undergo surgery to eradicate the infection and repair the damage.

Treatment for Bowel Obstruction Caused by Hernia Mesh

Physical examinations, x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic tests and images may be needed to detect a bowel obstruction. Patients are typically admitted to the hospital and scheduled for surgery once the obstruction is located and a cause is determined. When a hernia mesh product is responsible, a doctor must attempt to remove the mesh and may also have to remove any damaged portions of the intestines.

One of the many unfortunate complications of hernia mesh is that once it has begun to adhere to the tissue, it becomes more difficult to remove. This may result in the need to remove more intestinal tissue than would have otherwise been necessary. Not only must a surgeon repair the intestines, but the herniated tissue that was originally repaired with mesh must also be addressed. Currently, the only suitable option to repair a hernia after mesh removal is with another mesh product, which can lead to additional complications in the future.

Schedule a Complimentary Case Evaluation

Bowel obstructions are just one of the many serious complications hernia mesh patients face. Complications may take months or even years to appear, which makes identifying the mesh as the cause even more difficult for doctors. Patients may accrue exorbitant medical costs as a result of these complications, in addition to the impact on their professional and personal lives. Thousands of victims and their families are already taking legal action against these negligent hernia mesh manufacturers.

If you or a loved one was affected by one of these dangerous medical devices, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills, pain, and suffering. Please contact Impact Law to arrange a free case evaluation with an attorney in your area.

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