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New guidelines recommend mesh surgery should only be considered as a last resort

On 9th October 2018, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published new draft guidelines recommending that surgical intervention for urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse should only be considered as a last resort and if all other options have been exhausted.

As a result of this development, surgeons will have to consider a number of less invasive non-surgical treatment options before considering surgery.

The new NICE guidelines instruct:

  • In a case in which surgical intervention is the only option, the patient must be advised clearly of the risks beforehand.
  • The setting up of a national database to record details of all operations for stress incontinence and Pelvic Organ Prolapse in which surgical mesh/tape has been used together with details of all complications.

For those suffering from urinary incontinence, this might include Physiotherapy, medication, lifestyle interventions and Behavioural interventions. For those suffering from Pelvic Organ Prolapse, the options might include the use of pessaries, Pelvic Floor exercise, lifestyle changes and Topical Oestrogen.

How Thompsons NI has been supporting mesh victims

Thompsons NI represents a considerable number of local ladies who have suffered significant, and often life changing complications following the use of surgical tape/mesh.

In July 2018 a temporary suspension was placed in Northern Ireland upon the use of surgical mesh in treating cases of urinary stress incontinence. This put into force the recommendations of Baroness Cumberlege who had advised that the use of mesh implants to be suspended until such times as all necessary steps had been taken to mitigate the risks to patients.

Whilst we welcome the new NICE guidelines as a step forward and a move in the right direction, nevertheless we consider that they do not go far enough. We would urge the government to go further and to impose a complete ban on the use of mesh.

In addition to this, we call for the extension of the register recommended by the guidelines to also include the details of those who have had mesh/ tape inserted in the past. It is crucial that the full extent of the problems associated with mesh is revealed.

If you have been affected by the use of surgical mesh/ tape, Thompsons NI can support you. Contact either Joanne Kerr or Oonagh McClure of our office for a free consultation.