The NHS has today accepted the recommendation of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review to suspend the use of vaginal mesh implants. The review, chaired by Baroness Cumberlege came to the decision after gathering evidence from women who have undergone mesh insertion.
Baroness Cumberlege has been “appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories” heard from women who, in some cases, have suffered life-changing injuries.
The procedure, intended to be a 20 minute operation to insert a mesh tape through the vagina to support organs (for example acting as sling for the bladder) is often used as treatment for stress urinary incontinence. Many women have reported significant symptoms following insertion of the mesh, which once inside can harden, erode and in some cases has cut through neighboring tissues and organs leaving the sufferer in agony.
It is understood that in excess of 100,000 women have undergone the procedure to date.
For now, whilst the review has advised of suspension of the use of vaginal mesh, it is not a total ban. The mesh will remain as an option for some after careful consultation with their treating doctor.
“Today’s outcome has been a longtime coming for those who have tirelessly campaigned to raise awareness of the problems associated with the use of vaginal mesh. It is clear from the initial findings of the review that in many cases the risks of using the mesh have far outweighed the benefits. It therefore seems sensible and right that until the associated complications of using the mesh can be managed properly, such treatment should be suspended. It is of course up to the patient and treating practitioner to decide on an appropriate course of treatment but further advice should be sought in the event of any concerns or queries.”
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