Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Information

As more information comes to light about the potential for hernia mesh devices to cause devastating side effects in patients, more and more hernia mesh recipients are pursuing legal claims against Ethicon, C.R. Bard and other mesh manufacturers, alleging that the companies failed to adequately warn about the potential risks associated with their products. In 2010, for example, plaintiff Christopher Thorpe was awarded $1.5 million in the second Kugel hernia mesh bellwether case to go to trial, after his mesh device, manufactured by C.R. Bard, broke inside his body, causing serious internal injuries.

The following year, C.R. Bard agreed to pay $184 million to settle more than 3,000 lawsuits alleging complications from its hernia mesh products. More recently, a lawsuit filed in April 2016 by a man from Illinois, included allegations that side effects of his Physiomesh device caused him to suffer an infection, two abscesses and an intestinal fistula. In September 2016, a woman from Florida filed a Physiomesh lawsuit against Ethicon, alleging that the hernia mesh device blocked her intestines and became embedded in her abdominal wall, causing her chronic pain and other injuries.

“A study published in the medical journal Hernia highlighted possible mesh complications in 31% of the 632 patients studied for two years after being implanted with hernia mesh, including necrosis, cellulitis, seroma, hematoma and fistula.”

Side Effects Associated with Hernia Mesh

Adverse side effects that have been linked to hernia mesh devices include:

  • Mesh shrinkage
  • Mesh migration
  • Mesh erosion
  • Hernia recurrence
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Scar-like tissue that sticks together (adhesion)
  • Fluid build-up at the surgical site (seroma)
  • Abnormal connection between organs, intestines or vessels (fistula)
  • Bowel obstruction
  • A hole in nearby tissues or organs (perforation)
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History of Hernia Mesh

The concept of using mesh for the surgical repair of hernias was introduced more than 50 years ago, and in the years since, dozens of hernia mesh products have been approved by the FDA, many of which were cleared by the agency based solely on their similarity to other hernia mesh devices already on the market. Unfortunately, many of these hernia mesh products have since been found to increase the risk of debilitating complications, yet the FDA continues to allow new hernia mesh devices on the market. In April 2016, the FDA published an article highlighting the potential risks associated with hernia mesh, indicating that the devices may cause problems like “pain, infection, recurrence, adhesion, obstruction and perforation.” The following month, Ethicon removed its Physiomesh hernia mesh device from the market, citing the results of two large studies in Denmark and Germany, which found higher rates of hernia recurrence and revision surgery associated with Physiomesh, compared to similar hernia patches. Now, hernia mesh attorneys are investigating claims brought by individuals across the country who believe they have been harmed by side effects of hernia mesh.

A number of studies published in recent years have highlighted the potential side effects of hernia mesh, one of the earliest being a study published in 2009, which examined the “problem of mesh shrinkage in laparoscopic incisional hernia repair.” According to the researchers, “The surgeon has to anticipate the significant mesh shrinkage in laparoscopic hernia mesh repair.” Another hernia mesh study was published in the journal Surgical Infections in August 2012, and found that the polypropylene plastic used in many hernia mesh products is “characterized by high tensile strength and vigorous tissue ingrowth, but is unsuitable for intra-abdominal placement because of its tendency to induce bowel adhesions.”

In March 2016, the journal Surgical Endoscopy published research comparing the outcomes of 25 patients implanted with Ethicon’s Physiomesh hernia mesh device and 25 patients implanted with Ventralight hernia mesh by C.R. Bard. According to the study findings, within six months of implantation, 20% of the Physiomesh patients suffered a hernia recurrence, compared to 0% of patients implanted with Ventralight hernia mesh. That same year, a study published in the medical journal Hernia highlighted possible mesh complications in 31% of the 632 patients studied for two years after being implanted with hernia mesh, including necrosis, cellulitis, seroma, hematoma and fistula.

Manufacturers of Hernia Mesh

The following are some of the most widely-used hernia mesh products and their manufacturers:

  • Atrium’s C-Qur hernia mesh
  • C.R. Bard 3DMax hernia mesh
  • C.R. Bard’s Supramesh hernia mesh
  • C.R. Bard PerFix hernia mesh
  • C.R. Bard Ventralight hernia mesh
  • C.R. Bard Ventralex hernia mesh
  • C.R. Bard Kugel hernia mesh
  • Ethicon’s Proceed hernia mesh
  • Ethicon’s Physiomesh hernia mesh
  • Medtronic’s Parietex composite mesh
  • Medtronic’s Symbotex hernia mesh

What is Hernia Mesh?

Hernia mesh is a medical device designed to provide additional support to weakened or damaged tissue associated with a hernia, which occurs when there is an opening or weakness in a muscle or connective tissue that allows an organ, intestine or fatty tissue to squeeze through. Most hernias occur at the abdominal wall, and when mesh is inserted in an open operation or in a laparoscopic hernia repair, it can act as a “scaffold” for new tissue growth. Because of its apparent medical benefits and ease of use, hernia mesh was developed as an alternative to primary suture repair, in an effort to reduce the chances of the problem returning. However, a growing body of research has shown that many hernia mesh devices currently on the market may actually increase the risk of hernia recurrence and other serious complications.