Is Vaginal Mesh Safe?

In April 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of three mesh kits used for the transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse. This followed previous bans for similar mesh products marketed for specific approaches to transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse. These kits showed a high rate of complications, so the FDA acted to protect the public.

Unfortunately, this ruling has made some people think that mesh is banned for all types of gynecological repairs. This, however, isn’t true. For some procedures that treat pelvic organ prolapse — such as bladder and vaginal slings — mesh is still approved for use, with high success and satisfaction rates. In these applications, mesh is safe.

The doctors at Southeast Urogyn in Jackson, Mississippi, are experts at sling and other procedures that use mesh. They’re also experts in repairing and removing vaginal mesh. In this blog, they explain the safe uses of mesh and why mesh was banned for certain uses. 

Pelvic organ prolapse

Also called uterine prolapse, pelvic organ prolapse results from the stretching and weakening of pelvic ligaments and muscles. These tissues can deteriorate to the point where they no longer support the uterus and other organs in the pelvic region. Not every case of prolapse leads to symptoms, but many cases can be disruptive for some women.

Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include: 

Typically, symptoms are mild in the morning and tend to get worse through the day. Every patient’s experience is different, and you may suffer one or more of these symptoms. 

The use of mesh

Synthetic mesh has a long history of successful use in medical procedures. The FDA ban encompasses only certain transvaginal repair kits. Follow-up research on these kits indicated that they had higher rates of complications than other methods that used a transvaginal approach, but without synthetic mesh.

It is these particular kits that fall under the FDA ban. It’s not a problem with the mesh itself, but rather the way it’s used in transvaginal procedures. The use of synthetic mesh in other surgical approaches continues, since these materials and procedures produce effective, safe results.

For example, there’s no FDA ban on the use of mesh for slings and other procedures that help support prolapsed organs. If you’ve received a transvaginal mesh repair, and you’ve had no issues, there’s no need to worry. Many of these procedures were completely successful.

If you have any questions or concerns about mesh, the urogynecologists at Southeast Urogyn can help. They’re familiar with mesh procedures, mesh kit complications, and alternative treatments. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone today.

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