Fitting vaginal meshes to treat incontinence will be halted by the NHS in England in a bid to prevent more women from having “life-changing and life-threatening injuries” as a result of the controversial treatment.
The operation lasts 20 minutes and entails a plastic mesh tape being placed through the vagina to support the bladder. However, it carries the risk of eroding in the body and slicing through neighboring organs. Patients reported being unable to have sex, walk or work because of the complications arising from the ‘quick fix’ procedure.
In what will be hailed as a victory by the hundreds of thousands of patients who reported complications, the NHS will now suspend the treatment in England.
The decision comes after an inquiry, ordered in February by the then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, found that the practice should be halted until steps are taken to mitigate the risks.
Julia Cumberlege, who chaired the review, said she was “appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories” from women “who are suffering terribly” from the treatment.
Mother-of-four Jackie Cheetham said the implant – which she had fitted over 10 years ago – had left her suicidal. She decided to have the operation to improve her mild incontinence, and yet she has been in constant pain ever since.
She told Sky News she had not been told of the risks, and soon after her surgery, realized something was wrong: “Within hours I was in pain, I came home and within days the pain was getting worse.”
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