Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Hernia Forum

Hernia Mesh (Page 2)


July 21st, 2008
mesh-free surgery -- in Munich
Dr Ulrike Muschaweck runs a non-mesh hernia hospital in Munich. For those in Europe this may offer an alternative to mesh surgery. This place sounds more like a luxury hotel than a hospital - and it probably costs a FORTUNE. However Dr Muschaweck explains that her procedure precisely copies the technique perfected so successfully by the non-mesh Shouldice Clinic in Toronto.

This may offer some hope for those on this side of the Atlantic who do not want mesh surgery. I wish they'd open such a place here in the UK. However I don't think that will happen..................

If anyone out there knows of any such facility in the UK or anywhere nearby (Holland, France, Spain, etc) please, can you post it. Many thanks, and BLESSINGS to all out there who are dealing with this critical issue.
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replied July 4th, 2011
Experienced User
For those that have stumbled across this and think this is a top-notch place for a hernia repair...THINK AGAIN!

1) I went there over 2 years ago for a hernia repair and I was quickly forgotten and abandoned when I started to develop chronic groin pain from her procedure 4 months later. I was told that there was nothing wrong and that I should just take more pain killers and vitamins. I'm still in pain to this day. Avoid this place!

2) She does NOT copy the Shouldice method, but chooses to use her "own" method on over 70% of the patients she sees. When I said that I wanted the Shouldice repair method, she told me that it was overkill and that SHE would make that determination once she had me opened up. Be warned!

3) I've spoken to over a dozen people the past two years and have found that they are also suffering from chronic pain due to her surgery. They all reported similar experiences - she says nothing can undo her surgical work and that there is nothing wrong. If you insist that she does something for the pain, she will only help you if you cough up more money to fly back to Munich to just meet with her - no guarantee she will do anything for you other than talk with you. I met two pro-athletes, one for football and one for hockey - they both ended up going to another surgeon elsewhere to fix the mess she left them with in their groins. Horrible!

4) I met one patient who was treated absolutely horrific. He had bilateral repair, had intense pain months later, she made him fly back to Munich, she sent him to a bunch of pain specialists in the area - her cronies, had him get more imaging done, refused to do a second exploratory surgery to fix the problem, and then told him to go home and give it another YEAR for healing and for the pain to go away. A YEAR!!! Incredible! Oh, BTW, she stuck him with all those medical bills he racked up while over in Germany. He ended up returning to the US and had to have another hernia specialist redo the surgery. The second doctor said that it was a real mess inside of him as her repair came completely undone and did not hold. He had extensive nerve damage from her repair. I hope he finds some peace and gets better, as that is the hope for me as well.

5) If my words don't convince you that there is something wrong with this place, do a google search for "Muschaweck malpractice". She was sued in 2011 for medical malpractice. That speaks volumes!

I'm not posting to be malicious, but to just let people know that not all is well at this hernia center, and the way they treat patients that continue to have problems after surgery is appalling.

The true way to choose a surgeon is to start asking what they will do for you if you experience complications and chronic pain months or years after the surgery. If they start to say...ahhh, you have nothing to worry about - THAT is when you start running for the door.

If you do not live in Germany, do not even consider going here. Why? When you return to your home country and try to find a surgeon that will help you after the fact, with the chronic groin pain, you will be told to return to your original surgeon. Finding follow-up care is very difficult as doctors don't want to deal with other surgeon's screw-ups.

My life has pretty much been reduced to a life of avoiding movement to avoid the pain. Walking about the house is a major chore now. Before this, I used to be very active, went to the gym 3 days a week, enjoyed sports with my buddies, did things with my family...but not now.

For those that are suffering from botched surgeries, I know your pain, literally, and pray you find some peace from the relentless daily pain you are having. For those looking for a mesh-free surgery, this is NOT the place to go. If you are from a foreign country, and are considering going to Germany for this repair, please take my advice and do find a surgeon in your home country, one that you will have easier access to should something go wrong.

Best of luck to all those looking for a mesh-free doctor and best of luck to all those looking for a doctor that can give you your life back...one free of pain.
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replied July 23rd, 2008
not enjoying life.
in 1992 i had a left inguinal hernia repair with no mesh. that repair lasted until 2006 when it came back. I opted to get it repaired with mesh and to have the other side done as well. so after the bilateral hernia repair with mesh, it took about 6 months before I became pain free. that was until two months ago when i strained my left side moving something. ever since then i have been suffering with alot of pain. I had a Cat scan done and that showed no hernia and nothing abnormal. and ive had two opinions from surgeons who say the repair is still strong and that im having nerve pain from the mesh. i assume they could have seen if the mesh was out of place with the cat scan. one surgeon suggested pain management . ive been on ibuprofen for months, it doesnt do awhole lot. i have a hard time working and even lifting anything over 15 pounds. I felt great and the mesh was a miracle cure until i strained it ..... i feel ill never be normal again.
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replied July 23rd, 2008
mesh may be causing nerve pain
Really sorry to read your story and hope pain management is successful for you. I recently knew of someone else with almost the same story. She had mesh, she was in pain, she opted to have the mesh removed.

When the surgeon removed it, he found the repair was structurally fine, the mesh was in place, no new hernia had formed. What apparently happens (I'm no doctor, but it sounds like this may be the case, judging from the same stories that repeat over & over) is when new tissue grows in around the mesh, it entraps nerves.

Who knows if there is any way to predict exactly how new tissue (perhaps scar tissue) will grow in. Also, meshes shrink. And people's bodies change shape over time. They gain or lose weight, etc. Can mesh change along with people's bodies?

There seem to be no posts by people who've had NON-mesh surgery complaining of any sort of chronic pain. Sadly, it all seems to relate to mesh. There are posts all over the internet showing pain coming on months, even many years, afer mesh surgery.

One guy was fine for 10 years....and then the pain started. Maybe his body changed over ten years, only the mesh couldn't work with the changes (?). Could be. There seems to be no definite research or conclusions on this (yet).

I hope your pain treatments solve the problem for you. Be well.
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replied July 23rd, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Hi and Welcome to EHEALTH sithlord
I am speaking from experience...mesh is a problem. You are not alone, I know it doesn't solve the problem just know we are here for you.
You need to find a radiologist/surgeon who knows how read the scans and who knows what look for regarding the mesh and the many complications from them.
It's possible the nerves are pinched or entrapped.
Do you know what type of mesh you had implanted in you? If not it is important to get this information.
I have spoken to some people who have and are still suffering from the complications due to the meshes.

Once pain management starts it's a cycle that will continue, they need to find out what is causing your pain.
See as many doctors as you need to get an answer.
Feel free to pm anytime.

Keep looking for answers. Listen to your body, you know your body better than anyone.
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replied July 23rd, 2008
alternatives to mesh
What will it take to get the medical world to wake up & realize what is happening because of mesh?

I've just seen a recent Dutch trial (similar to the famous "watchful waiting" trial conducted by Dr Fitzgibbons of Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.). The study started off by saying that surgical treatment might not always be a good idea because (quote) "the percentage of patients with chronic pain after inguinal hernia repair is very high".

Similar studies have shown similar findings in the UK, Greece, Denmark, etc. The chronic pain rate after mesh surgery seems to come in at higher than 30% no matter where/how the study is done. So there is something very consistent here.

None of this, tragically, resolves any problems for those who've had mesh surgery and are experiencing often severe pain & complications. However the fast-growing mountain of evidence from all over the world should wake the med's up to what's happening with this, and they should be coming up with some answers.

It's shouldn't be about pain management AFTER the fact. It's about PREVENTING pain & related complications in the first place. Personally, I can only hope against hope to be able to delay my own hernia surgery until a better alternative is developed. There is just too much evidence against the current technique. I know a good number of people who are also delaying their surgery until a better & safer method is developed.

May all those who are suffering the serious ill-effects of this procedure find a positive, permanent solution to their pain & related problems -- and may the medical community PLEASE come up with a better way, before thousands more people are forced to suffer from what is meant to be a "cure".
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replied July 23rd, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
The problem is it comes down to the cost and how fast the operation can be done.
Insurance companies are dictating our lives.
There are many, many reports out there on the mesh. Doctors need to inform the patients of the severe complications from the mesh.

I've been researching this stuff for over 2 years and I still shake my head when I read these reports and posts.

Artie..Do you have mesh implanted in you or are you looking to find an alternative to the mesh?
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replied July 23rd, 2008
mesh mess
Thanks, Serenity. You're doing a terrific job with this. At least someone out there is trying to do SOMETHING.

Yes. It's all so obvious -- and tragic. 20 minutes for a mesh job, 60 minutes for a proper Shouldice procedure. Says it all. However the Shouldice procedure isn't associated with causing permanent pain.

As a doc-friend of mine put it recently, "Never have mesh. Mesh is a quick fix...." Very scary. I've been researching for a year. I honestly can't believe what I'm seeing. It reads like something out of the Dark Ages, with pain & serious complication rates one thinks of as per Victorian Era surgery.

I've seen endless reports & studies confirming the same very high complication rates -- yet nothing is done. In the UK, Canada & Europe, health care isn't driven by private insurance as it is in the USA. In fact, if patients develop complications and then require pain clinics or further surgery, it ends up costing the various public health systems a fortune.

Which is why I can't understand this method being continued in places where there is simply no profit motive. For instance, the NHS here in the UK is broke. You'd think they'd want to avoid complications at all cost. You'd also think more research would at least be coming from places outside the USA.

I currently have no mesh implanted in me. Honestly, I'm scared "witless" to have it done. I keep hoping I can hold out until the methodology improves. Non-mesh surgery can be found in the UK, except it probably wouldn't be the true Shouldice procedure. It would be what used to be called a "modified Shouldice", meaning only one tissue layer, rather than four, is stitched -- therefore a very high likelihood of recurrence.

This is why mesh gained such popularity in the '90s -- because it was much easier to learn, and much quicker to do, than the true Shouldice procedure. I've located a clinic in Munich that does the actual Shouldice method, and will try to look into that. The place reads like a super-luxury hotel and sounds WILDLY expensive ...... I don't know if I could afford it. I haven't contacted them yet............

There's a hernia surgeon in Las Vegas who has a website explaining why he doesn't use it. Also Dr Desarda's hernia clinic in India. His site very clearly explains the whole thing. However almost all hernia surgery today is with mesh, and even if things changed tomorrow, how long would it take the medical world to train surgeons in a different method? Which is probably one reason they won't abandon the current technique, but will look into, as one surgeon put it, "developing better meshes". (????)

The surgeon I saw last month pooh-poohed the whole idea of mesh complications. He talked about possible "infection" which he said could be easily dealt-with by antibiotics. So simple. I knew immediately he didn't realize how much research I've been doing, however I let him give his spiel ..... and politely left. He advocated "watchful waiting" in my case, perhaps because I'm suffering from certain other problems as well. I don't know how long I can "watchful wait" -- I'm hoping it's for a long time as I don't see any radical change happening anytime soon.

I've seen sites where surgeons flat-out deny that mesh rejection (as opposed to infection) even exists. Haven't they heard of the term "meshoma"? The denial is really scary. The whole thing is scary.

Of course, hernia mesh isn't a subject that grabs any media attention. When I mention this to people, even those with hernias or who are awaiting hernia surgery, they look at me as if I'm from Pluto. Very few people bother to do ANY research. They just do what the doctors advise, and that's that. Many people have told me that I "look into things too much". They simply don't want to know. It's understandable. Hey, I don't want to know, either.

Another problem: as I understand it, laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery can ONLY be done using mesh, and this is the type of surgery that is gaining popularity the fastest.

I don't see any real answer, apart from not having mesh in the first place. Try & find a nearby, affordable, manageable place that offers a viable alternative..............

I'm also looking into the "bio" meshes such as Permacol (UK) and Surgisis (USA). While early results are looking fairly good in terms of reduced infection rates and fewer overall complications, it's still mesh. Meaning there's still the issue of nerve entrapment, which is possibly the Number One cause of the Chronic Pain Syndrome that's so prevalent.

Serenity, all the very best to you. Please, keep up your great efforts. Maybe someone somewhere out there will listen...............
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replied July 24th, 2008
Re: Hi and Welcome to EHEALTH sithlord
I am in the process of getting the imformation on the type of mesh. I saw it prior to my surgery and it was a pretty decent size oval shaped piece of mesh. ive been warned by my aunt,who is a RN with 30 years experience that pain management isnt always the best way to go. people can have complications from the medicine used and it can sometimes make things worse. Im wondering if physical therapy would be better eventhough it was a strain that actually "jerked on the mesh" as put so elegantly by one of the many doctors ive seen.
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replied July 24th, 2008
The Shouldice Clinic
Just a thought.....you might want to contact the Shouldice Hernic Clinic in Toronto for information. They are reputedly the world's best hernia hospital. They never use mesh and they have a near-100% success rate. From a number of posts I've seen, they've been helpful with people who've had mesh surgery and are now having complications, pain, etc. They might be able to point you in a good direction. All the very best of luck with this, and hope everything turns out ok in the end. Hmmmm.....is jerking on the mesh is supposed to cause problems? All we keep reading about is how mesh creates such a strong bond, etc...... Again, very best wishes for a very speedy solution.
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replied July 4th, 2011
Experienced User
FYI...the "they never use mesh" theory is no longer applicable for Shouldice. When I called there, they told me that in some cases, they may choose to use mesh. ALWAYS ASK...as it now seems that even hernia centers that never used mesh are starting to employ its use.
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replied July 24th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Re: Hi and Welcome to EHEALTH sithlord
sithlord wrote:
I am in the process of getting the imformation on the type of mesh. I saw it prior to my surgery and it was a pretty decent size oval shaped piece of mesh. ive been warned by my aunt,who is a RN with 30 years experience that pain management isnt always the best way to go. people can have complications from the medicine used and it can sometimes make things worse. Im wondering if physical therapy would be better eventhough it was a strain that actually "jerked on the mesh" as put so elegantly by one of the many doctors ive seen.


Hi again

Glad to hear you are in the process of getting the info on your meshes.
If your mesh has torn or hardened, physical therapy won't help, it can make it worse.
IF the mesh hardened,folded,etc...it's like having sandpaper inside you.
Your doctor said that the strained jerked on the mesh?
Have you seen other surgeons to get another opinion?
What state do you live in, (if you'd rather pm me this I understand)? There are some doctors throughout the USA that remove the mesh.
Another option is asking for an MRI, but again you need a doctor who knows what to look for with this mesh nightmare.
Has anyone recommended doing an exploratory surgery to see what is going on inside you?
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Users who thank ^Serenity^ for this post: Kirsten53 

replied July 26th, 2008
Reducable Hernia
Hello, I have to admit the stories that I have read in these types of forums would make up a book of horror, it has however made people like me aware and very cautious about these physicians that are ready to just do the job inserting a mesh patch without any research of the after affects. I have had a very small Inguinal Hernia on my right side for about a year, I finally asked my physician to examine it and give me his opinion – He did and said it was in his opinion a reducible hernia; - He also would refer me to a surgeon for a further exam to be sure. I than went to the surgeon and he also said it was a reducible hernia but he was very quick to suggest patching it up. I had told him that I was doing some research on recalled mesh patches and with an immediate sarcastic voice said he did not use any recalled patches and referred to some other mesh patch that he uses. I did not like the idea of a quick decision or attitude so I stopped the conversation at that point and left the office. It seemed he took offense of me doing research on the mesh patches. Now I have a question for anyone that has done research for the following questions. 1. Is it true that a hernia is less to strangulate in older people? 2. And if it has to be repaired why not have it surgically done the old fashion way where the physician cuts , push it back, and closes it up?- It seems to me this would be the less of complications all around. 3. Does anyone know of specialized surgeons that do this? Thanks for all the information that this forum has made ready to people like myself before jumping into a bad situation.
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replied July 26th, 2008
The Shouldice Clinic
Wow. I'm precisely in your boat! I've had very small inguinal hernia, well two of them actually, also for a year -- and like you I'm VERY concerned about mesh complications. I'm in the UK. Mesh used universally here. I've done tons of research on this in the past year. Sadly, it's very scary.

Are you anywhere near Toronto? The world-renowned Shouldice Hernia Clinic in Toronto never uses mesh. They have a near-100% success rate. See their website, and read testimonials by their patients. If I lived in, or anywhere near, Toronto, personally that would be my first choice.

There's a doctor in Las Vegas, Dr Kevin Petersen, who's got a website called "no insurance surgery" or something similar to that. His website explains why he doesn't use mesh. Try googling his site.

Don't make any quick decisions. Do a ton of research. Don't be afraid of questioning surgeons. That mentality is left over from "old times" when a doctor was seen as a "god". Forget it nowadays. There was no internet back then. Do your homework. Ask tons of questions.

The surgeon I saw also denied any problems with meshes. I politely left his premsies, too. If they take offence, that's their problem, not yours. They are there to help you. That's their job.

Very best of luck in your efforts, both in terms of research and a final decision. Also be sure to see the many various websites on "watchful waiting + hernia".

You may also want to google Surgisis and Permacol, the new "bio" (non-plastic/biodegradable) meshes. You might find a lot of this information interesting & enlightening.

GOOD LUCK!
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replied July 26th, 2008
Strangulation in older people
Hi again Frightened....

I'm also Frightened.....Very. From all the research I've done, (I'm not a doctor -- so this is only based one what I've seen on the Net and from what three doc's have told me) it seems there's no real way to predict strangulation. The surgeon I saw, who advised watchful waiting in my case as the hernias are very small and not painful, said it's up to (gasp) "Fate". Talk about frightened......

I suppose we sort of expect concrete scientific answers from doctors, however because virtually no research has gone into hernia -- apart from the surgical side -- they can't give the sort of "definitive" answers that might put our minds to rest. I was literally PRAYING for my doc's & the surgeon to offer that sort of solid info. They couldn't. The only definitive things they can offer are the various surgical options.

Most sites say that stangulation is more likely if the hernia has become irreducable and/or is getting painful. Meaning use common sense -- if things seem to getting worse or painful, get medical attention immediately.

If a reliable "strangulation predictor" could be developed, it might mean the end of a lot of hernia operations (?). I've seen sites that say small hernias are more likely to strangulate, I've seen sites that say larger ones are. From what I've read, indirect hernias are more likely to strangulate than direct. Also hernias with a large neck are supposed to be less likely to strangulate.

However there is no info remotely as "concrete" as we'd like. Unfortunately it's all largely opinion because so little research has gone into anything apart from surgery.

Trawl the net. Get as much info as you possibly can. Again, best of luck.
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replied July 27th, 2008
Hernia
Thanks Artie,

The The Shouldice Clinic seems to be the answer for an excellent choice of patient care, Do you know if they accept any insurance or how much the cost? I reside in the US and Canada would be no problem except for cost.

Also the clinic in Vegas seems to be another good choice? It seems like you are knowledgeable on research.
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replied July 27th, 2008
Non-mesh
Hello again

Just want to re-iterate....I'm more Frightened than you....believe me. And I'm in England. Can't get to the Shouldice in Toronto. If I could, I'd rest a LOT easier, just knowing they were on hand, in case it became necessary. If you reside partly in Canada it might be quite convenient for you. Can't say anything about cost, insurance, etc. Best to email or phone them.

Dr Petersen in Las Vegas was kind enough to email me with details. He seems to do the Shouldice method -- however I'm not a doctor (FAR from it) so I can't say if his technique is exactly the same. Best to ask him. His email was very friendly & he seems really easy to talk to.

Yes....unfortunately I've done tons of research. I wish the Shouldice had a branch over here. I'm trying to find a nearby best-option should "watchful waiting" no longer be possible. In the meantime I'm doing everything I possibly can to keep the hernias under control. I'm hoping to hold out until the mesh issue has been sorted out. You're right....the stories read like a horror novel. Very sad. And VERY scary.
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replied September 21st, 2008
Re: hernia mesh complicationss
oviedogal wrote:
My husband had an incisional hernia repair last August (2007) The surgeon used Proceed mesh mfg. by Ethicon. The leakage from the surgical incision was quite heavy and turned yellowish and had a very foul odor. The surgeon advised this was normal and he would see us in his office in a few days. When he saw my husband and the amount and odor of the leakage, he knew immediately there was a problem. My husband had a catscan which revealed a fistula which produced a hole in the bowel. They tried for 19 days, in the hospital with NO food or liquids, to clear this up with heavy doses of antibiotics administered intravenously. It didn't work and they had to do a second surgery and remove the mesh patch. He has had nothing but pain and problems since. His abdomen is constantly bloated, hard as a rock and grotesque looking. After I found this forum, I did go to the site recommended and filled out the form. I was contacted by Ethicon and asked many questions, including my permission to contact the surgeon that operated on my husband. I have NO problem with the surgeon. I have now received a letter from Ethicon explaining how great their Proceed mesh is and that the problems my husband is experiencing must be caused by an allergy to the mesh. They told me to contact my doctor for further help. Has anyone pursued a lawsuit against Ethicon? Causing this much pain and suffering to so many people is horrifying.


I have some problems since more than a year after surgery with a PROCEED mesh. I have read that potential complications are "adhesions, fistula formation, and infection" with some of the symptoms your are describing.
After intensive google search, what worries me is that NO studies (long or short term) are available with this (and probably others) product. I have understood that this product is placed directly into the abdominal wall, i.e. in direct contact with the bowells!!! This is why some many complications are possible.
I would expect that surgeons and medical companies have some ideas on what is going to happen to this product inside my body !!!
How can be that the FDA accepts the use of products that are not fully tested?
Thanks for your comments.
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replied September 21st, 2008
Hernia mesh complications
Luca
You are absolutely correct, there have never been any clinical studies on any of these mesh proucts, not even the ones that are place in females for UTI, which are better known as slings. There are also horrific complications associated with them also. To be honest, every time a mesh is implanted, the implantee becomes part of the trial. It is known by the FDA that these products are causing vast disabling complications, but because they approved the use of these products I highly doubt that the FDA will do anything about them, The FDA would look very bad in the public eye if they were to do anything now. As consumers, the only recourse that we have is to file adverse event reports thru the FDA www.fda.gov/medwatch is the link to file a report. I feel as one who suffers also and after three operations the word should get out about these products and the harm they do, if you have any suggestions in doing this they should be applied as soon as possible to help prevent this from continuing. I have been in contact with the FDA for 2 years now, so have many others with complications. Do anything and everything you can to get the word out.
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replied September 22nd, 2008
British conference: hernia mesh
Not to lumber anyone with more repetitive research (all the recent trials, studies & reports are showing at least 30% rate of chronic pain, including a very recent one completed in Holland) -- however anyone concerned with the issue might want to know that the very serious issue of hernia mesh has obviously reached a point where a special conference is being conducted by the British Hernia Society on the subject early next month:

http://www.britishherniasociety.org/glasgo w2008/speakers.htm

This shows that the med’s are indeed very much aware of the issue....which is a good thing. The need for widespread info on SAFER alternatives is now desperately needed.
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replied October 17th, 2008
itching from mesh????!!!!
ok..new to site. On Aug.6th had a hernia repair using ultrapro mesh. 11 days later I had a terrible outbreak of hives!! I have never had any skin problems or hives for that matter. I went to er and they gave me some meds through and iv....and then went into cardiac v-tack!!!!!!!!! Was admitted for a week....called surguen who did repair 3x and she has yet to call me back!! It is now Oct. 16th and I am still ithching!!!!!! Does anyone know of side effects of mesh causing this??????
Thank You
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replied April 22nd, 2009
Hernia repair
I was reading a book by an osteopath written in 1980 and republished in 2000. At that time {1980} he was still using 'the injection method' of hernia repair which entailed wearing a custom made steel truss 24 hrs a day and they then keep injecting something into the inguinal canal which closes it permanently. It sounds complicated but he claimed it worked better than surgery than current {this was before mesh or laproscopy}
with few, if any, recurrences. I searched the internet and you can find an article on this procedure from many years ago but I see no info indicating anyone does this anymore.
Does anyone out there no anything else about this or if anyone is currently doing it? -JR
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