CARDIFF, Wales — Patients in Wales are calling for a ban on the use of mesh implants to treat hernias as part of a Welsh Government review.
According to the BBC, experts participating in the review are investigating the use of vaginal mesh implants, but the use of mesh in hernia patients is not being studied.
Last month, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended that mesh treatment for organ prolapse should be banned. Despite that and the urgings of mesh patients, the Welsh Government responded by saying hernia mesh is outside the scope of its review.
The Welsh Government said the review study focuses on the “use of vaginal mesh and tape for pelvic stress urinary incontinence and vaginal pelvic organ prolapse,” according to the BBC.
Hernias occur when an organ, intestine or fatty tissue squeezes through a hole or a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue. Mesh is used to treat hernias by holding the tissue in its proper place.
The Royal College of Surgeons holds that mesh can be the “most effective” way to treat a hernia.
“There’s always a small risk with any type of surgery but hernia mesh implants have a lower risk of infection than those used to treat prolapse,” it added.
Although hernia mesh has proven to be a successful treatment in some cases, it can also lead to dangerous complications such as organ perforation, bowel obstruction, adhesion and infection.
Peter Jones, a former surgeon based in Kent, told the BBC there needs to be more awareness about potential complications of hernia mesh.
Jones said patients are becoming more aware but “in the main, no, they are not warned about the risks.”
Richard, 67, of Penarth, is one of the hernia mesh patients that supports the ban. He said the exclusion of hernia patients from the Welsh Government review has been “pretty upsetting.”
The multiple hernia mesh implants he has received cause him so much pain that he can no longer stand for too long, much less continue his work as an actor.
“It feels at times like a knife sticking into the wound,” he said, as reported by the BBC. “I had hoped to be doing an awful lot more with my time.”
The Welsh Government review should be completed by the end of January.
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