As we all know, the NHS is now bearing the cost of operating on patients whose breast or hip implants have failed years earlier than predicted with varying outcomes on the patient’s health and wellbeing.
The NHS must also bear the cost of remedial surgery when there are problems with TVT or other synthetic meshes.
When mesh surgery goes wrong, there are multiple trips to the GP, hospital clinic, costs of tests including ultrasound scans, urodynamics, MRI scans, and cystoscopies, and then eventually repeat surgery (and sometimes multiple surgeries) and hospital inpatient treatment to remove part or all of the tape which is eroding or causing obstruction or pain. On top of this, add the cost of medication eg for pain or antibiotic treatment, and trips to the pain clinic for treatment or injections. Throw in the cost of continence products, such as catheters, and you might have a better idea of the real cost to the NHS of failed TVT surgery.
The personal costs to the individual include: physical pain, suffering, ill-health and sometimes disability from TVT complications; costs to relationships and family life; disruption to working life and possible loss of income from repeated treatments and time off for surgery; and sometimes cost of funding second opinions and treatment out of desperation.
All surgery has risks and all surgery can fail. But unlike other forms of continence surgery, synthetic mesh seems to pose unique risks from the plastic material causing erosion, infection, inflammation, tissue or organ damage and pain. Plastic meshes cause misery and are fundamentally unsafe.
“Synthetic mid-urethral slings for stress urinary incontinence seem to have good success rates over long term, but they have a unique complication profile including de novo development of overactive bladder, voiding dysfunction, sling exposures, dyspareunia, and long-term pain. However, some of these complications seem to be related to wrong surgical indications and improper surgical techniques, although some complications may be directly related to the use of synthetic material itself.”