Vaginal Mesh Implants are now temporarily banned in the UK
Earlier this month, the UK government accepted a recommendation to temporarily ban vaginal mesh implants for women in England who are suffering from urinary incontinence. It was concluded by the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review that there must be an immediate pause in the use of surgical mesh to treat the condition of stress-urinary incontinence (SUI).
This is a condition where urine leaks from the bladder when it is under pressure. This conclusion follows a ruling last year from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) whereby it was decided against the use of vaginal mesh as a treatment for pelvic organ collapse. However this ruling did state that the devices could still be used to treat SUI and to repair hernias in both men and women.
This latest decision has been hailed as a ‘vindication’ by campaigners for the thousands of victims suffering as a result of having undergone vaginal mesh procedures.
It is estimated that around 100,000 women in the UK have a mesh device fitted, according to NHS England. The extent of complications varies, but NHS England estimates that they occur in 3-5 % of women, with academics disagreeing with this percentage saying that it is closer to 10%.
The latest review, chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege has said the temporary ban on the use of the vaginal mesh implants should last until March 2019, in order to give the opportunity to mitigate the risk of injury.
“We strongly believe that mesh must not be used to treat women with stress urinary incontinence until we can manage the risk of complications much more effectively. We have not seen evidence on the benefits of mesh that outweighs the severity of human suffering caused by mesh complications”.Baroness Cumberlege expressed grave concern and was appalled by the scale and the seriousness of the tragic stores that have been heard from affected women and their families.
“Their bravery and dignity in speaking out is deeply moving, and their sadness, anger, pain, and frustration at what has happened to them and others has been compelling. We had to act now.”
Campaigners from the Sling The Mesh support group have called for a suspension of rectopexy pesh as well as part of the latest review.
“We now hope that Baroness Cumberlege adds rectopexy mesh to the suspension. This is used when patients suffer after a rectal prolapse. This is even more taboo and more embarrassing than urinary incontinence. Women suffer the same, grave life changing complications,”It is hoped that ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow suit and halt the procedures in these locations.
The vaginal mesh plastic is known to erode and disintegrate, and can even slice through vaginal walls and other organs. Some women are unable to walk or stand properly, with almost all women affected reporting chronic pain.
For further information regarding vaginal mesh implants and how you can seek advice if you have been affected by this procedure, please refer to our page about Vaginal Mesh Implants.