Mesh implant victim had 'excrutiating pain' after groin surgery

By Chloe Johnson

Steve Ross is still in pain a year after surgery. Photo / Michael Craig
Steve Ross is still in pain a year after surgery. Photo / Michael Craig

Steve Ross was a happy active man who loved playing with his children.

Now, the 48-year-old is wheelchair-bound after surgeons used a controversial mesh implant to repair a hernia.

In November last year, Ross had a hernia on the right side of his groin fixed with surgical mesh - a polypropylene implant used to secure weakened tissue.

He was in excruciating pain within four hours of being sent home from surgery and his groin began to swell dramatically. "The pain was so bad I was unable to walk," Ross said. "Even to move sent me though the roof.

"It was like someone was kicking me constantly."

He was taken to hospital and had one testicle removed. But the complications and pain continued.

After nine months on high doses of pain killers, doctors discovered the mesh had grown into his abdominal wall and entrapped his nerves.

Ross had some of the mesh removed six weeks ago but he said the pain was now more severe than before.

"Most of my day is spent in bed, my standing tolerance is about 20 minutes, and no one knows how long I'm going to be like this. "

Ross contacted the Herald on Sunday after reading hundreds of people had suffered from complications from mesh surgery.

Many of those people have contacted the paper in response to our investigation, including one woman whose husband died from mesh complications.

Medical experts are divided about the controversial product.

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons councillor and surgeon Richard Perry said there was a lack of information available about the mesh despite it being used to repair hernias since the 1970s.

However, he said the introduction of polypropylene surgical mesh had significantly lowered the complication and recurrence rate.

"But it has come at its own price and we are still evolving in our learning about meshes."

He said the college believed mesh was better than the traditional method of stitches.

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 02 Oct 2014 01:00:23 Processing Time: 574ms