Over the past 6 years, over 570,000 hernia repair operations have been performed by the NHS, but recent reports suggest that as many as 170,000 people could be left in chronic pain, unable to walk or move as a result of the surgical mesh used.
Statistics show that one in 10 people in the UK will develop a classic hernia (often a breach of the abdominal muscle, where part of the intestine, breaches the abdominal wall). The repair operation is simple but not without risk and involves pushing the tissue back into the abdominal cavity and covering the area with the surgical mesh. The procedure itself is relatively straightforward.
However increased reports are being received of patients suffering not only complications but life altering pain and limitations, as a result of the operations, of which around 100,000 are performed each year.
Labour MP Owen Smith, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Surgical Mesh, states, “we could potentially have another scandal on our hands”.
A leading surgeon, Dr Muschawech, has performed over 3,000 repair rectification surgeries and advises that her preferred method of hernia repair is the use of sutures. However, she points out that the lack of experience of many younger surgeons means that the mesh is a preferred option.
Surgical mesh has been used since the 1990’s and whilst complication rates remain at 12 – 30 %, the use of mesh remains authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. The use of mesh also remains supported by the Royal College of surgeons.
In my opinion, it is about time that there was a thorough review of the use of surgical mesh and serious questions asked. It cannot be right that a procedure designed to alleviate pain and discomfort, can result in increase pain and suffering in up to 30% of patients who receive this treatment. Additionally, the cost to the NHS is significant and it is estimated that those who experience hernia repair complications cost the NHS up to £25,000 per patient, in revision surgery and follow up treatment.
The forthcoming data on hernia mesh surgery mirrors the concerns and group litigation that is developing in respect of vaginal mesh surgery.
If you have experienced difficulties following hernia repair surgery or any other type of surgical procedure and you believe the surgeon has been negligent, then contact our specialists, on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.