Canada: Hernia Mesh Complications: Allergy To Mesh And The Bodies' Response

Last Updated: December 13 2017
Article by Paul Miller

"Do you have any allergies?" It's a common question health providers ask when compiling a patient's medical history. An allergy to a certain substance causes the body to exhibit a damaging immune response. Symptoms of allergies, such as swelling, redness, rashes, hives, sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes, asthma, or a general ill feeling, can range from mild irritation to life-threatening episodes of anaphylactic shock in the most severe cases.

If you do have an allergy – to a certain medication, food, or material (such as latex), you've probably learned to avoid it at all costs or take allergy medicines if you can't. But what if you're experiencing an allergic reaction to something implanted in your body? What if you simply can't avoid it or wait for a seasonal change to ease your symptoms? What if your allergic reaction is virtually constant and inescapable?

Some victims of defective hernia mesh complications know this feeling all too well. Their body has identified a foreign material (often polypropylene or similar synthetic materials) and has gone to war with it by producing a damaging immune reaction. Unfortunately, usually the only way to permanently stop this immune response is to remove the material in remedial surgery.

In this blog post, I explain how allergic responses to hernia mesh occur, list the symptoms a victim may experience, and explain possible legal actions to receive damages and compensation for the pain and suffering a victim has experienced from hernia mesh complications.

The Immune Response

When the body identifies a foreign object or substance in its midst, it engages in an immune response designed to protect healthy cells and organs from what it perceives as an invader. Localized inflammation is a common initial response. If the foreign object can't be easily expelled other immune responses, such as forming foreign body giant cells (fused macrophages) and fibrosis (walling-off) may occur.

These reactions can be damaging to the surrounding tissue and nerves and may cause chronic pain. Moreover, as the body attempts to break down the foreign substance in order to get rid of it, infections, adhesions, and other complications from defective hernia mesh can cause additional problems.

Allergic Reaction Symptoms

Not all human immune systems respond in the same way to a foreign body. Allergy symptoms and other complications may vary from person to person, or depending on where in the body the mesh was used (epigastric hernias, inguinal hernias, umbilical hernias, etc.).

However, common signs of an allergic reaction to defection hernia mesh include:

  • Persistent or chronic inflammation at the site of the hernia mesh
  • Warmth or heat at the site of the hernia mesh
  • Poor healing or fluid buildup at the site of the hernia mesh
  • Unexplained itching, rashes, hives at or near the site of the hernia mesh
  • Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, nausea, general ill feeling)
What Can Stop This Allergic Reaction?

Unfortunately, as long as the foreign body remains present, the immune response is likely to continue. Doctors may prescribe immuno-suppressive therapies such as a course of steroids to ease symptoms. However, the immune response usually reemerges when this treatment ceases.

Some physicians monitoring patients with defective hernia mesh have suggested remedial surgery to remove the mesh or to replace it in an attempt to stop this persistent allergic reaction and the damage it may be causing to surrounding organs and tissue.

What Legal Action Can You Take?

If you or a loved one have had hernia repair surgery using a mesh product, have experienced a prolonged allergic reaction you believe to be related to the mesh, and have been told you require remedial surgery, you may be eligible to take legal action against this defective product's manufacturer.

As a personal injury lawyer who specializes in medical product liability cases, I know how frustrating, upsetting, and distressing it can be to deal with the aftermath of a faulty medical device. When you contact me I will listen to your story with empathy. I will also explain some of your possible legal options, including participation in a mass tort action, at no cost to you and with no obligation to proceed.

Learning you were victimized by defective hernia mesh can be devastating. Learning how you can take control of your recovery and potentially seek damages and compensation for your injury can be empowering. Together, we explore the next steps on your journey towards healing.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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