A Fistula is a severe complication that can arise after a hernia mesh implant surgery. “If defective hernia mesh implanted during surgery migrates through tissue, shrinks, erodes, or otherwise disturbs or perforates internal organs and tissue, it can create conditions where fistulas are able to form.” Source Hernias are difficult to deal with due in large part to the significant amounts of pain and discomfort they bring to people. As noted by the FDA, “Anything that causes an increase in abdominal pressure can cause a hernia, including obesity, lifting heavy objects, diarrhea or constipation, or persistent coughing or sneezing.” The FDA adds that overexertion, smoking, and poor nutrition also put people at greater risk of developing a hernia.

Because of how much pain and discomfort it causes, medical professionals have developed different ways to treat hernias, and among them are the surgical options that involve the usage of surgical hernia mesh.

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Mesh complication- fistula

What is a fistula?

“A fistula is an abnormal connection between two body parts, such as an organ or blood vessel and another structure. Fistulas are usually the result of an injury or surgery. Infection or inflammation can also cause a fistula to form.” Medline Plus

Learning More About Hernia Mesh

According to Drugwatch.com, hernia mesh is an implant that is designed to provide additional support for damaged tissue. It manages to provide support by holding the tissue in place and allowing it to build up strength again.

The aforementioned website notes that surgeons turn to hernia mesh because it helps reduce the risk of a hernia recurring. A study featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association back in 2014 looked into hernia treatments. As part of their study, researchers compared the healing effects of hernia mesh to stitches and saw that the former strengthened tissue, while the latter was not capable of that on its own.

Given the benefits of hernia mesh, it comes as no surprise that it has become a commonly used form of treatment for a health issue that affects 2 percent of the adult population and 4 percent of infants, according to My Virtual Medical Centre. However, it is worth noting that using hernia mesh can bring about its own set of problems.

Fistula – A Consequence That Can Arise from the Usage of Hernia Mesh

There are different issues that can be caused by the usage of hernia mesh, and among them is what’s known as a fistula. A separate article from Drugwatch.com notes that fistulas are among the complications that can be caused by the hernia mesh detaching after surgery and moving through the abdomen of an individual.

The National Association for Continence defines a fistula as “an abnormal connection or passageway that connects two organs or vessels that do not usually connect.”  People can develop different kinds of fistulas, and among them are ones that involve the intestines, the colon, and the skin.

  • An Enteroenteral Fistula is one that takes place when two segments of the intestine are abnormally connected.
  • An Enterocutaneous Fistula is one that takes place when a connection between the small intestine and the skin forms.
  • A Colocutaneous Fistula is one that takes place when the colon and the skin are abnormally connected.

According to the World Health Organization, 50,000 to 100,000 new cases of fistulas are diagnosed every year. Fistulas have the potential to be quite damaging to the body. Some symptoms brought about by the occurrence of a fistula include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Furthermore, when fistulas are left untreated for an extended period of time, their adverse effects can become more severe. In some cases, fistulas can lead to the development of infections, nerve damage, and even kidney failure.

Treating Fistulas

Treatments for fistulas include surgery and/or medication. When doctors decide that surgery is needed, they may perform either a laparoscopic surgery or a transabdominal surgery.

  • Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, and surgeons who perform it gain entry into the problem area via a small incision, and from there, cameras and tools are utilized to carry out the procedure.
  • Transabdominal surgery involves surgeons making use of an abdominal wall incision to gain access to the fistula.

For medication, doctors may ask individuals dealing with fistulas to take antibiotics to address any infections they may have. Additionally, doctors may utilize other tools to address fistulas. Catheters can be used for draining fistulas, but they are mainly used for smaller the smaller variants of this medical ailment. Fibrin glue is a special type of adhesive designed specifically for the purposes of sealing fistulas. A collagen matrix known as a plug may also be used to fill in a fistula.

Other complications that can be caused by hernia mesh

  • Bowel obstructions make it tougher for people to pass gas or defecate. Nausea and vomiting are additional symptoms of this complication.
  • Bowel perforation similarly involves nausea and vomiting. Abdominal pain and inflammation are added to the list of things that people have to deal with when they suffer from bowel perforation.
  • The hernia mesh used may also be rejected by the body, leading to swelling, pain, and the development of flu-like symptoms. These hernia mesh failure symptoms and hernia mesh complications is what leads mesh lawyers to seek justice for victims
  • In some cases, hernias may recur even when hernia mesh is used.

Hernias and Fistulas are not pleasant to experience in any way, and while hernia mesh is designed to address them, these medical tools may also cause problems of their own.