Ethicon Physiomesh Market Withdrawal

Defective Ethicon Physiomesh® Hernia Mesh Attorneys

Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary, Ethicon, withdrew Physiomesh® from the market in May 2016, due to unacceptably high rates of hernia recurrence and re-operation. When mesh fails and requires further surgery, a patient may experience significant pain, systemic infection, scarring and extended hospital stays. Through an "Urgent Field Notice," Ethicon has advised health care centers around the world to return unused defective mesh devices back to Ethicon and to terminate all future use of the mesh. The "Composite" version is the mesh subject to withdrawal (not the "Open" version).

If you have had an Ethicon mesh installed, call (888) 260-0473 to find out if you have grounds for legal action.

Problems Associated with Ethicon Physiomesh® Composite Mesh

Ethicon (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) stated in their Field Safety Notice that two European hernia registries found the following two complications "were higher than the average rates of the comparator set of meshes." These were:

  • Recurrence of the hernias for patients implanted with Physiomesh®
  • Reoperation rates for patients with Physiomesh®

Ethicon's Safety Notice stated potential reasons for this, although they have "not been able to fully characterize these factors." The available failure data showed the potential for:

  • Product characteristics causing complications
  • Operative factors
  • Patient factors

Why Are There High Failure Rates with the Mesh?

This was one of the first mesh products used for laparoscopic hernia repair in the ventral area (stomach cavity). Physiomesh® was coated with polydioxanone (PDO) on both sides to facilitate the bonding of two poliglecaprone-25 layers. Some believe that these chemicals affected the ability of the mesh to properly adhere to tissue. In some cases the hernia came back, while in others the mesh came completely loose.

This mesh was approved in 2010 by the FDA under its "510k" process, which means the mesh was approved for the medical world without any human testing. This approval method is based on the fact that there is a predecessor product, but this earlier model mesh was once recalled by the FDA as well.

So What Went Wrong?

meshA recent study done by the Journal of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (March 2016) compared Physiomesh® to other mesh for laparoscopic ventral hernia. Physiomesh® came up short in several areas. The study was not completed due to safety reasons, but conclusions were still made with the remaining patients who underwent the procedure and study. It was found that Physiomesh® had a 20% increase in failure rates, as well as a greater rate of pain and hernia recurrence compared to another version of mesh. The study concluded that Physiomesh's® higher failure rate might be related to its lower level of elasticity. This hinders the mesh from being fully incorporated into abdominal walls.

The Physiomesh® is composed of a permanent polypropylene fiber with polydioxanone (PDO) on both sides to facilitate bonding of two absorbable barrier layers, which can also be another reason for its downfall. The two absorbable barrier layers on both sides can hinder proper tissue growth and proper adhesion of the mesh.

Preserving Evidence

Preservation of removed mesh is an important step if considering litigation. Mesh is the property of the patient, and patients have the right to tell facilities to preserve the mesh or deliver the mesh to the patient's possession (or legal representative). Some doctors have patients sign a broad medical release which allows the doctor to return the mesh to the medical mesh manufacturer without notice to the patient.

How Do I Know if I Have Ethicon Physiomesh® Composite Mesh?

This was not a withdrawal where Ethicon is contacting patients! Vigilant surgeons aware of the withdrawal may voluntarily contact patients, but you may not be contacted. If you had hernia mesh implanted between 2010 and 2016, you can contact your surgeon to see which type it is. If you have had implanted mesh which is already removed due to failure, loosening, or hernia recurrence, you can contact your doctor or we can obtain medical records for you in order to determine what type of mesh it is.

Firm Experienced With Mesh Injuries

Our firm has litigated hernia, pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence mesh lawsuits against multiple medical companies. If you or someone close to you has suffered due to the implantation of this mesh device, the experienced New York defective medical device attorneys at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP are here to stand up for your rights.

Talk to a member of our team today at (888) 260-0473 or by contacting us online.

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