Back and pelvic pain with surgical mesh – What you need to know before calling an attorney
This morning I heard about liability issues with surgical mesh. Apparently, this is turning into the newest way for the legal profession to capitalize on the misery of others. Upon doing a search on the internet, there were quite a few references (many of them by law firms looking for the next big kill). This past summer, Bloomberg reported on surgical mesh with regard to products made by Johnson and Johnson and Boston Scientific. According to Bloomberg “Mesh products made of non-absorbable synthetic material can erode and cause pain, bleeding and urinary incontinence, Public Citizen, based in Washington, said in a statement today. The mesh is implanted through incisions made in the wall of the vagina to reinforce the tissues around the pelvic organs. ”
This type of mesh has been used to repair pelvic problems as well as hernias. Apparently the material may erode and cause pain. This unfortunately, is just part of the story.
Adhesions and scarring
A normal part of healing is scar formation. It has been noted by the medical community that scar tissue is responsible for chronic pain in the hips and back from abdominal surgeries that cut through the muscle. Over the years, many surgeries were done this way with the long term side effect being the chronic pain people experienced which their doctors did not fully understand. This sometimes lead to further surgeries later on which addressed the scarring, which of course eventually by its nature caused further scarring.
Others suffered from direct or abdominal hernias later on since the scar was never as strong as the intact tissue. Some of these people eventually had these hernias repaird with mesh. In the quest for safer procedures with fewer complications, doctors have found other ways to perform surgeries which avoided these complications. Doctors now may go through the belly button to do gynecological procedures, minimizing the complications of surgical incisions that go through the muscles. Apparently, wherever there is an existing orifice, there is a less invasive entry point for your doctor to use to minimize follow-up complications for abdominal surgeries. You can read the entire article on mesh here http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-25/fda-should-recall-surgical-mesh-for-women-public-citizen-says.html)
When mesh is used, the mesh works by toughening up the area around it and giving the body a place to adhere to which is stiff and supportive. Unfortunately, there apparently have been some counterfeit products which have been implanted into people and some public advocates are clamoring for the products to be recalled.
The greater problem is that often, surgeons do not fully understand body mechanics, and as a chiropractor, these cases present in our offices with chronic back pain, sciatica, stomach pain and other symptoms which can be difficult to diagnose without an appropriate musculoskeletal workup. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people who have had hernia repairs, C sections which may or may not have had mesh who have similar symptoms. Often, these people find themselves in pain management offices, who treat the pain, rather than understanding the pain which even by the admission of doctors I have spoken with turn people into junkies with the medications they are on for the pain.
Are the doctors at fault? Does the medical profession really deserve to have themselves at the mercy of enterprising lawyers who have selected mesh as their flavor of the month? Maybe doctors need to develop relationships with other types of providers who have a greater understanding of how to deal with surgical scarring conservatively, using their understanding of body mechanics and treatment to help relieve problems that have too often been misdiagnosed costing millions in lost productivity, disability and deeply affecting the quality of life of many people who wanted to do what their doctor recommended and have a successful long term outcome.
A healthier way to get relief, and avoid the lawsuit.
Perhaps, the best way is to see a different type of doctor. Quite honestly, a lawsuit is often pursued out of frustration caused by a poor outcome or in this case, the advertising which is simply fishing for people who are disgruntled or see an opportunity to capitalize on this current anti mesh trend.
What people really want (in most cases) is relief. What works well is fascial release, by a well-trained provider. Manipulations of these tissues can often partially or in many cases fully address the scar tissue that is creating the pain. In our practice, we have seen many of these cases both from the simple bikini scar to the hernia repair abdominal mesh that had caused scarring to adhere to the underlying musculature causing pain. You can only diagnose this by putting your hands on someone. Diagnostic tests are often a waste of money if your doctor has not done a manual (by hand) evaluation first of the area to check for adhesion and scarring. The sad truth is that most medical providers simply lack this skill because it was never taught. Many manual therapists including chiropractors are skilled in being able to find the scarring and using methods such as Graston or Fascial release, resolve or significantly improve the problem.
You can read more about fascial release in the book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain available now on Amazon.com. You can also reference our web page and blog at backfixer1.com for further information.