Your surgeon says he or she can snip the part of the mesh sling they can see, a quick operation and you’ll be better. Or says he can cut it to release it because it was put in too tight. Or, he promises a full removal but the operation takes less than an hour and, if the parts go to pathology, most of the mesh is still not accounted for.
Women who knowingly or unknowingly have partial removal surgery come to regret it. They issue strong warnings for the lucky women who read or search for answers online before signing up for a partial removal. Thousands of Urogynecologists and Urologists do partial removals. The very people who profit from mesh tell those specialists how to handle complaints: just cut a little out. Some heartless doctors cut it right there in the office with no anesthesia whatsoever.
The woman who have been through this tell newcomers not to allow a surgeon to cut bits and pieces of mesh but to leave it whole for a qualified surgeon with the skills to necessary to remove the entire device in one operation. They warn that doctors are not telling the truth about those partial surgeries.
Partial removal can be a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Nearly everyone gets temporary relief after a partial surgery. When a rope breaks, the ends fray. That’s what happens with partials. All the ends leak toxic chemicals, stirring up a immune storm inside your body and spring back, eventually attaching to other parts of your vagina, bladder, intestines, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. After a year or two, you develop new symptoms and go looking for a doctor who can help. More than 99% of board certified surgeons will do another partial. Some women have dozens of surgeries before finding help from advocacy groups.
Be very careful. Get the whole thing out in any way you can because you are in the best possible shape to have a good outcome when your surgeon goes after the whole thing and it’s still intact! When mesh is cut, the next surgeon must go searching for shreds of it. They compare that surgery to trying to get bubble gum out of hair or searching for shrapnel.
If your surgery took less than four hours, consider that it may not be a complete removal, get your medical and surgical records and your pathology report. Learn the dimensions of your implant and ask for an accounting for every piece of it. Before your explant surgery, demand a micro and macro pathology be done. Afterward, get those reports!
We’ve found only five surgeons in the U.S. who consistently prove they removed complete pelvic mesh including arms or anchors (fixation devices):
- Shlomo Raz, UCLA
- Dionysis Veronikis, St. Louis, MO
- Una Lee, Seattle WA
- Dmitriy Nikolavsky, Syracuse, NY
- Michael Hibner, Phoenix, AZ
The surgery is very risky but research has shown that is in no more risky that partial removals.
Peggy Day is working on a book to combine all these stories. This is an excerpt from Pelvis in Flames: Your Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide. Your input is welcome to help make Pelvis in Flames the book you need to read.
If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, join my group, Surgical Mesh or check the list of support groups here.
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