In response to the growing number of transvaginal mesh lawsuits filed in the U.S. and overseas, the UK Department of Health announced last week its plan to provide surgeons with the guidance and support necessary to minimize transvaginal mesh side effects in women being treated for pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

To do that, the agency will work with officials at the National Health Service (NHS) Commissioning Board and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to draft proposals for a registry of transvaginal mesh products. Hopefully, this will help pinpoint which devices cause the most harmful side effects, so surgeons can avoid implanting them into patients.

Transvaginal mesh belongs to a class of devices that are stitched to a woman’s vagina to offer support to her internal organs, which may have prolapsed over time. The implantation of this surgical material is used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

So far, approximately 8,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed against transvaginal mesh manufacturers including the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Ethicon, C.R. Bard Inc., American Medical Systems and Boston Scientific. Claims filed against these companies, from patients who allegedly experienced mesh erosion, infection, chronic pain, urinary problems, pain during intercourse, as well as bowel, bladder and blood vessel perforation,  have since been consolidated into separate multidistrict litigations in federal courts around the U.S.

Dr. Susanne Ludgate, who serves as Clinical Director for Medical Devices at the MHRA, voiced her commitment to minimizing the frequency of these sometimes irreparable transvaginal mesh injuries:

“We listened to and understand the concerns that many women have about vaginal tapes and meshes. That is why we commissioned research to review the available literature on the safety and adverse effects associated with these products.”

Published November 28, 2012 by