From the Desk of the Editor - “Women Beware: Not all Mesh-Implants Need to be Removed"

After reading a front-page article, How Profiteers Coax Women Into Surgery, in the New York Times, I knew I had to write this blog. The article describes the business case for exploiting women who have had a mesh implant for surgical treatment of pelvic floor disorders, e.g. pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence. The author notes “Litigation against implants’ manufacturers has involved more than 100,000 plaintiffs in federal court alone.”   But we know that not all women who undergo mesh-implant surgery have mesh-related post-operative complications.

The article is an exposé on the practice of marketing unnecessary mesh-implant removal to women who may or may not have mesh-related complications from the surgery.  Through some unexplained access, marketing firms are able to obtain lists of women who have undergone pelvic surgery and who have received mesh implants. They randomly contact these women to encourage removal of the mesh. The women are lead to believe the mesh is harmful, even though the woman may not have complications from the implant. These firms provide upfront cash to cover travel to an “expert surgeon” who removes the mesh. The women are lead to believe that they will receive large legal settlements from companies making the mesh implant. What they end up with is a loan with a high-interest rate and in many cases, new or worsening complications following mesh removal. This appears to be a highly profitable business with financial backing from banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds.   I happen to be a provider who sees women who are seeking help for post-mesh-implant complications, such as urinary incontinence and pelvic pain. So I can relate to the women profiled in the article, who are now dealing with these same complications. For patients beware and see your trusted clinician.

Written by: Diane K. Newman, DNP, ANP-BC, FAAN

Further Related Content: 

How Profiteers Coax Women Into Surgery, in the New York Times
Pelvic Health Weekly Newsletter