NHS Mesh Operations Argument Rages On...
- AuthorSylvia Taylor
NHS England jumped to suspend Trans-Vaginal Mesh operations amid 'life-threatening' safety concerns. As Tilly Bailey & Irvine explain, the argument still rages on....
Last year, we commented upon the suspension of fitting of trans vaginal mesh for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse - NHS Mesh Operations ‘Suspended’ Due To Risks.
The campaign to prevent the lifting of the suspension of the use of the mesh in the UK goes on.
The mesh is made of polypropylene and is designed to be permanent. For years, women who had the mesh fitted had been complaining of abdominal/vaginal pain, neuropathic pain, difficulty in walking, bleeding, infections and pain. Many have subsequently undergone further surgery, which has found problems arising from mesh erosion and nerve damage caused by the surgeon following the manufacturer’s instructions.
The likelihood is that the women were told that undergoing the procedure would cure or improve their stress urinary incontinence and that it was a procedure that would allow them to go home the same day. Even after undergoing the procedure, if a complaint of pain had been made soon after, it is unlikely that the surgeon would have considered that the pain was due to the mesh.
Earlier in the year, the US Regulator halted the sale and distribution of all mesh used to treat pelvic organ prolapse due to safety concerns as one of the US manufacturers had not demonstrated a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the devices to the Regulator.
NHS Improvement and NHS England wrote to all NHS Trusts in March this year, confirming an extension of the ‘pause’ in the routine use of vaginal mesh whilst certain conditions are met, such as appropriate training, reporting every procedure to a national database, reporting complications, and NICE guidelines on the use of mesh are published.
Concerns were raised by MPs and campaigners when NICE updated their guidance in April 2019. Parts of the guidelines were amended in June 2019. The guidelines state that surgery should only be provided if all other alternative treatments have failed.
However, they still allow for the mesh to be used in the context of ‘research’.
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