The implants are medical devices used by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence in women, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth.
Some women with incontinence receive treatment using tension free vaginal tape, although adverse side effects are not thought to be as common.
The mesh, usually made from synthetic polypropylene, is intended to repair damaged or weakened tissue.
What are the possible complications of mesh implants?
Mesh implants have been used successfully in many other parts of the body, but appear to react differently when inserted in the abdomen, leading to some women being “cut”.
A report by US regulatory body the Food and Drug Administration said once the mesh was implanted, it was very difficult – sometimes impossible – to remove.
Some women have reported severe and constant abdominal and vaginal pain following the surgery, and some have been told that they can no longer have sexual intercourse.
Other women have experienced infections and bleeding, while many have said their original incontinence symptoms have not been improved by the surgery.
Some women who experienced problems said they were not aware the implants were permanent.
Are mesh implants the only option?
Traditional surgery for a prolapsed bladder has a failure rate of 20-30%
Non-surgical treatments, including physiotherapy, are routinely offered to women suffering from a prolapsed bladder and/or incontinence. However, in more serious cases traditional surgery – which doesn’t use implants – can be necessary.
However, such surgery has a 20-30% failure rate, which is why many women were offered the mesh implants as an alternative.