Vaginal mesh surgery suspended over health risks

Vaginal mesh surgery suspended over health risks

The government has accepted the recommendation of a review into the safety of the medical devices, which called for a pause in the use of vaginal mesh implants until a set of conditions is met.

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review is yet to announce its terms of reference, but its chairwoman, Baroness Julia Cumberlege, came to the decision after gathering initial evidence from women and their families affected by surgical mesh procedures.

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, she said.

We have not seen evidence on the benefits of mesh that outweighs the severity of human suffering caused by mesh complications.

I have been appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories we have heard from women and their families.

We have heard from many women who are suffering terribly.

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.

My team and I are in no doubt that this pause is necessary.

We must stop exposing women to the risk of life-changing and life-threatening injuries.

We must have measures in place to mitigate the risk, and those are sadly lacking at the moment.

The review into vaginal mesh was announced by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this year and its team will meet women across the country who have suffered serious complications.

Kath Sansom, founder of Sling the Mesh, has been fighting for vaginal mesh to be suspended for more than three years.

She said This is incredible news and vindication for more than 6,100 members of Sling The Mesh who have been maimed by this operation and then ignored – some for years.

It is testament to people power.

Our members have written, emailed, attended parliament and lobbied to get this result and I am delighted.

We now hope that Baroness Cumberlege adds rectopexy mesh to the suspension, which is used to treat rectal prolapse.

Failed vaginal mesh ops costing the NHS millions

Sky News first reported on the devastating complications of vaginal mesh three years ago. It is most commonly used to treat incontinence in women, mainly after childbirth.

The quick-fix operation lasts 20 minutes and involves inserting a mesh tape through the vagina to support the bladder like a sling.

The device is made out of plastic and once inside the body it can erode, stiffen and slice through neighbouring organs.

It has left thousands of women in chronic pain, some unable work, walk or have sex. Many have recurrent infections and are on permanent medication.

Jackie Cheetham had a mesh implant fitted more than 10 years ago to help improve her mild incontinence and is now in constant pain. The mother of four says the effects left her suicidal.

She told Sky News she had not been told of the risks, adding I was young, in my late 30s… went in for this operation and thought ‘this is the beginning of me being able to run properly without wetting myself’.

But it was not long before she knew something had gone wrong.

Within hours I was in pain, I came home and within days the pain was getting worse… in my groin, bladder, I had bladder spasms.

Owen Smith MP set up an all-party parliamentary group into surgical mesh implants and has been championing the issue for years.

This is wonderful news and it is long overdue, it is also a complete vindication of all those women who have campaigned tirelessly to suspend mesh and highlighted the damage the procedure has caused to many women, he said.

Baroness Cumberlege should be applauded for making this definitive statement just days after her review began taking evidence from women affected by mesh injury.

She has obviously been left in no doubt – as those of us who have listened to women injured by mesh are in no doubt – that the risks far outweigh any benefits.

Of course the reality of the situation is surgeons have already recognised that fact which is why the use of mesh has declined so precipitously over recent years.

I hope that ministers in Wales and Scotland and civil servants in Northern Ireland will follow suit and halt the procedure.

News Source SkyNews

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