A group of men have said they have been left in chronic pain and made to feel hopeless after having mesh inserted during surgery for hernias. The men, who have formed a self-help group in Northern Ireland, are calling for a suspension of the material’s use until more is known about it.
The Shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Smith, has told BBC News NI he believes the mesh issue will become one of the biggest health scares in the UK. But the Department of Health has said it was confining its work to complaints made only by women.
Speaking to the BBC, the men said they felt their complaints should be taken into consideration as well.
‘I have no private life’
For the majority, hernia operations are successful, but they can leave patients in chronic pain. Roy Morrison said the pain around his testicles was almost constant.
“Think of when a sports man gets kicked in the groin area and falls to the ground in pain,” he said. “That’s what my pain can be like.”
Mesh for treating groin hernias
The material is the NHS’s “recommended method” for treating hernias, and is used on tens of thousands of patients every year.
A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue pokes through a gap where muscle has weakened. It most commonly takes place in the groin.
The use of mesh involves pushing bulging tissue back into the abdomen and covering it with the material, and can be delivered via open or keyhole surgery.
One in 10 people will develop a hernia, and some experts are concerned about the “thousands of hernia mesh patients who are living with chronic pain”.
According to NHS Choices, 10% of hernias come back at some point after surgery.
The Royal College of Surgeons said while “any poor outcomes are regrettable”, mesh implants were the “most effective” way to deal with a hernia.