If you or someone you love has undergone hernia repair surgery and has had an Ethicon Physiomesh hernia patch surgically inserted, you should be aware that dangerous complications may result from this brand of mesh. Johnson & Johnson has issued a recall on the patches and there are currently numerous lawsuits forming against the manufacturer. An Ethicon Physiomesh hernia mesh lawyer can file a claim on your behalf and help you and your family recover.
Lawsuits are being filed due to severe complications such as hernia recurrence, painful adhesions, and hernia patch tearing, migration, or shrinkage. None of these complications occur when other brands of hernia patches are used. There’s also evidence suggesting that Ethicon, the manufacturer of Physiomesh patches, falsely pushed their hernia mesh to market and weren’t truthful about the product’s components.
What are Physiomesh Hernia Mesh Patches?
When a patient with a ventral hernia (a bulge of tissues, intestines, or organs that works its way through an opening, injury, or surgical incision in a patient’s abdominal wall) undergoes hernia repair surgery, one common method of repair is for a surgeon to place a bioabsorbable mesh hernia patch over the opening. This allows the patient’s natural tissues to absorb the hernia mesh and become stronger over time, ensuring repair with minimum complications.
Hernia mesh surgical procedures using porous, bioabsorbable patches are almost always successful. Bioabsorbable mesh is very safe and has a low chance of hernia recurrence. The flexible materials found in most hernia patches almost guarantee a natural healing process and a minimal amount of discomfort for the patient.
This changed in 2010 when Ethicon placed a new type of hernia mesh on the market known as Physiomesh. The manufacturer claimed that Physiomesh was similar to other types of hernia mesh on the market and was made from the same bioabsorbable components. The FDA therefore didn’t require Ethicon to test the mesh on humans.
These claims ended up being false. Ethicon Physiomesh hernia mesh is made from two layers and is technically categorized as an intraperitoneal onlay mesh (IPOM). The innermost layer is flexible and porous, but the outermost layer is made out of a hard polymer film that is supposed to add extra support but instead acts as an unnatural barrier.
Ethicon’s preclinical test results showed that the human body’s tissues were prone to reject the Physiomesh polymer layer since they were forced to grow “on” it rather than absorb it. These test results were not brought to light until years after the patch was pushed to market. Now, hundreds of patients have come forward reporting painful adhesions and other symptoms of hernia mesh migration, shrinkage, and tearing.
What Dangers Do Physiomesh Hernia Patches Pose?
Since Physiomesh hernia patches are sometimes rejected by the body’s natural tissues, having the patch inserted can lead to chronic foreign body reactions. The body’s tissues essentially view the patch as a foreign object. This causes dense, painful adhesions to develop that can force the patch to migrate or tear over time.
In addition, patients with complications from Physiomesh hernia patches often experience these serious side effects:
- Other signs of infection such as redness or a noticeable discharge from the surgical site
- Hernia recurrence
- Dense adhesions (scar-like tissue)
- Seroma (fluid buildup)
- Bowel obstruction
As of 2016, it’s been estimated that at least 50% of the patients who have had the Physiomesh hernia mesh inserted since 2010 have experienced one or more of the above side effects. In most cases, serious side effects lead to additional surgeries, medication, and hospitalization. Some symptoms may lead to lifelong complications.
It’s important to note that these side effects may start to appear anywhere from a few months to a few years after the date of surgery. Symptoms vary from patient to patient.
Get Help from an Ethicon Physiomesh Hernia Mesh Lawyer Today
At Welsh & Welsh, we believe that Ethicon had an obligation to reveal its preclinical testing results before pushing Physiomesh hernia mesh to market and failed that obligation by hiding the results and insisting their mesh was no different than standard hernia mesh. Medical product and device manufacturers, along with all product manufacturers, should prioritize safety over profit.
If you have undergone hernia repair surgery and think you may have had a Physiomesh hernia patch inserted, you should speak to your surgeon immediately—even if you are not experiencing any of the symptoms noted above. Your surgeon may advise you to have the patch removed to avoid further complications.
If you’ve already begun to experience negative symptoms like those listed above, it’s imperative that you seek medical care right away. You may also wish to get in touch with Welsh & Welsh as soon as possible. Our Omaha, Nebraska law office can pair you with an Ethicon Physiomesh hernia mesh lawyer who can tell you the merits of your case and help you get financial compensation that can go towards recovery costs and more.