An Ounce of Prevention: Serious Mesh-Related Complications

The prospect of surgery can be frightening. We put our faith in well-trained doctors, surgeons and other healthcare professionals to make the best decisions for us when we’re under their care. But a little knowledge can go a long way to helping us alleviate some of our fears. Learning about our condition and prospective surgery can also help us to ask relevant, intelligent questions and become advocates for our own health.

Hernia Repair is a Common Surgical Procedure

Hernia repair is a common surgical procedure. More often than not, it includes the use of a medical product called surgical mesh, a loosely woven sheet which is implanted into the body. However, there are growing concerns in Canada and beyond about the safety of these mesh products. Since the year 2000, a dozen brands of hernia mesh have been removed or recalled from the Canadian market and patients from across the country have been speaking out about complications they believe are related to the surgical devices. Defective mesh can contract, stretch, tear or migrate, and some of the recalled products have been linked to infections and perforations.

There is also concern that the long term effects of mesh products have not been adequately investigated. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that followed over 3,000 hernia patients found a “progressively increasing rate of serious mesh-related complications” over time and concluded there is a “need to assess the long-term safety of interventions before making definitive conclusions about their benefits.”

Given these concerns, I’m sure anyone facing the prospect of hernia surgery has one question top of mind: Is the use of hernia mesh necessary? Sometimes, the use of mesh in hernia repair is unavoidable.

In a recent interview with CTV News, Dr. John Morrison, president of the Canadian Hernia Society, expressed concern that mesh products are being used too often and, in some cases, may not be required at all. He said he believes that patient education is key in this respect and encourages patients to pose questions to their doctors and surgeons. These include:

  • What type of hernia do I have?
  • Will mesh be used in the operation?
  • If the surgeon plans on using mesh, why it is being used.

Complications from defective hernia mesh can be severe, making it all the more important for patients to get involved in their own health care.

If you (or someone you know) have had hernia surgery and believe you are suffering complications related to hernia mesh, you may have legal recourse.

For more information, please contact hernia mesh lawyer Paul Miller at 416 646-3901 or at

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