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Hernia Mesh

A hernia mesh lawsuit is a legal claim filed against surgical mesh manufacturers by people who suffered serious injuries after their mesh implants failed. Talk To A Hernia Mesh Attorney.


What Is Hernia Mesh?

Hernia mesh is a medical device that is used in surgeries to repair hernias. The mesh is implanted into the wall of the organ over the hernia to strengthen the damaged tissue. Hernia mesh is typically made out of either animal or synthetic material.

Hernia mesh can be either absorbable or non-absorbable. Absorbable hernia mesh will, over time, degrade and lose strength, eventually getting absorbed into the body. This type of hernia mesh is designed to provide only temporary support to an organ wall. The tissue itself will provide the necessary support as it grows back over time. Non-absorbable hernia mesh is meant to be permanent and will not degrade.

How many types of hernia are there ?

The most common forms of hernia are:

  • Inguinal hernia: In men, the inguinal canal is a passageway for the spermatic cord and blood vessels leading to the testicles. In women, the inguinal canal contains the round ligament that gives support for the uterus. In an inguinal hernia, fatty tissue or a part of the intestine pokes into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. This is the most common type of hernia, and affects men more often than women.
  • Femoral hernia: Fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. Femoral hernias are much less common than inguinal hernias and mainly affect older women.
  • Umbilical hernia: Fatty tissue or part of the intestine pushes through the abdomen near the navel (belly button).
  • Hiatal (hiatus) hernia: Part of the stomach pushes up into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm (the horizontal sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen).

Other types of hernias include:

  • Incisional hernia: Tissue protrudes through the site of an abdominal scar from a remote abdominal or pelvic operation.
  • Epigastric hernia: Fatty tissue protrudes through the abdominal area between the navel and lower part of the sternum (breastbone).
  • Spigelian hernia: The intestine pushes through the abdomen at the side of the abdominal muscle, below the navel.
  • Diaphragmatic hernia: Organs in the abdomen move into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm.

What are the symptoms of hernia?

A hernia in the abdomen or groin can produce a noticeable lump or bulge that can be pushed back in, or that can disappear when lying down. Laughing, crying, coughing, straining during a bowel movement, or physical activity may make the lump reappear after it has been pushed in. More symptoms of a hernia include:

  • Swelling or bulge in the groin or scrotum (the pouch that contains the testicles).
  • Increased pain at the site of the bulge.
  • Pain while lifting.
  • Increase in the bulge size over time.
  • A dull aching sensation.
  • A sense of feeling full or signs of bowel obstruction.

In the case of hiatal hernias there are no bulges on the outside of the body. Instead, symptoms may include heartburn, indigestion, difficulty swallowing, frequent regurgitation (bringing food back up) and chest pain.

What is the reason behind having a hernia?

Hernias are caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain. Depending on its cause, a hernia can develop quickly or over a long period of time.

Some common causes of muscle weakness or strain that can lead to a hernia include:

  • a congenital condition, which occurs during development in the womb and is present from birth
  • aging
  • damage from an injury or surgery
  • strenuous exercise or lifting heavy weights
  • chronic coughing or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
  • pregnancy, especially having multiple pregnancies
  • constipation, which causes you to strain when having a bowel movement
  • being overweight or having obesity
  • ascites

What are the risk factors for hernia?

There are also certain risk factors that make you more likely to develop a hernia. They include:

  • being born prematurely or having a low birth weight
  • being older
  • chronic cough (likely due to the repetitive increase in abdominal pressure)
  • cystic fibrosis
  • pregnancy
  • chronic constipation
  • being overweight or having obesity
  • smoking, which leads to the weakening of connective tissue
  • a personal or family history of hernias

Do children get hernias too?

Between 10 and 25 percent of babies are born with an umbilical hernia. This type of hernia is also more common in babies who are born prematurely or with a low birth weight.

Umbilical hernias occur near the belly button. They form when the muscles surrounding the hole left by the umbilical cord don’t close properly. This causes a portion of the intestine to bulge out.

If your child has an umbilical hernia, you may notice it more when they’re crying or coughing. Umbilical hernias in children are typically painless. However, when symptoms such as pain, vomiting, or swelling at the hernia site occur, you should seek emergency medical attention.

See your child’s pediatrician if you notice that your child has an umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernias typically go away when a child is 1 or 2 years old. If it doesn’t disappear by the age of 5, surgery can be performed to repair it.


Can a hernia occur during pregnancy?

If you’re pregnant and think that you have a hernia, see a doctor. They can evaluate it and determine if it poses any health risks.

Often, hernia repair can wait until after delivery. If a small hernia that’s present before or during the pregnancy begins to get larger or cause discomfort, surgery may be advised to repair it. The recommended time to have this performed is during the second trimester.

Hernias that have been repaired in the past may return with later pregnancies. This is because pregnancy places a strain on abdominal muscle tissue that may have been weakened by surgery.

Hernias can also occur following a cesarean delivery. During a cesarean delivery, a doctor makes an incision into the abdomen and uterus. The baby is then delivered through these incisions.

An incisional hernia can sometimes occur at the site of a cesarean delivery. Get more details about hernias that occur after a cesarean delivery.

What are the complications of a hernia?

In rare cases, inguinal hernia repair can damage structures involved in the function of a man’s testicles.

Another risk of hernia surgery is nerve damage, which can lead to numbness in the groin area.

If a part of your bowel was trapped or strangulated before surgery, it may lead to a bowel perforation or dead bowel.

  • Strangulation: Pressure placed on the hernial contents may compromise the blood supply to a section of an organ or tissue, leading to ischemia, cell death, and even gangrene. A strangulated hernia is life-threatening and requires immediate surgery.
  • Obstruction: When part of the gut herniates, the bowel contents may no longer be able to pass through the herniated area, leading to cramps, the absence of defecation and vomiting.

How is a hernia diagnosed?

It is usually possible to see or feel a bulge in the area where a hernia has occurred by physical exam. As part of a male’s typical physical exam for inguinal hernias, the doctor feels the area around the testicles and groin while the patient is asked to cough. In some cases, soft-tissue imaging like a CT scan will accurately diagnose the condition.

How is hernia treated?

Hernias usually do not get better on their own, and surgery may be the only way to repair them. However, your doctor will recommend the best therapy to address your hernia, and may refer you to a surgeon. If the surgeon thinks it is necessary to repair your hernia, then the surgeon will tailor the method of repair that best meets your needs.

In the case of an umbilical hernia in a child, surgery may be recommended if the hernia is large or if it has not healed by the age of 4 to 5 years old. By this age, a child can usually avoid surgical complications.

If an adult has an umbilical hernia, surgery is usually recommended because the condition will not likely improve on its own and the risk of complications is higher.

One of three types of hernia surgery can be performed:

  • Open surgery, in which a cut is made into the body at the location of the hernia. The protruding tissue is set back in place and the weakened muscle wall is stitched back together. Sometimes a type of mesh is implanted in the area to provide extra support.
  • Laparoscopic surgery involves the same type of repairs. However, instead of a cut to the outside of the abdomen or groin, tiny incisions are made to allow for the insertion of surgical tools to complete the procedure.
  • Robotic hernia repair, like laparoscopic surgery, uses a laparoscope, and is performed with small incisions. With robotic surgery, the surgeon is seated at a console in the operating room, and handles the surgical instruments from the console. While robotic surgery can be used for some smaller hernias, or weak areas, it can now also be used to reconstruct the abdominal wall.

What can happen if a hernia is not treated?

Other than umbilical hernias in babies, hernias will not disappear on their own. Over time, a hernia can grow larger and more painful or can develop complications.

Complications of an untreated inguinal or femoral hernia may include:

  • Obstruction (incarceration): Part of the intestine becomes stuck in the inguinal canal, causing nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and a painful lump in the groin.
  • Strangulation: Part of the intestine is trapped in a way that cuts off its blood supply. In such cases, emergency surgery (within hours of occurring) is necessary to prevent tissue death.

How can a hernia be prevented?

  • Maintain ideal body weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising.
  • Eat enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains to avoid constipation.
  • Use correct form when lifting weights or heavy objects. Avoid lifting anything that is beyond your ability.
  • See a doctor when you are ill with persistent coughs or sneezing.
  • Don’t smoke, as the habit can lead to coughing that triggers a hernia.

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