Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Composite Physiomesh Withdrawn from Market

By: Seeger Weiss on December 13, 2016

The first lawsuits have been filed against the medical products giant Johnson & Johnson for injuries caused by Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite mesh. The surgical mesh implant was withdrawn from the market in May 2016 after analysis of two hernia registries showed a high rate of hernia recurrence or reoperation.

The Ethicon mesh lawsuits are likely to be only the first of many, and patients or loved ones of those requiring additional hernia repair after getting Ethicon Physiomesh may be eligible for compensation.

Ethicon, a subsidiary of the medical products giant Johnson & Johnson, is facing what may be only the first of multiple lawsuits to be filed for injuries caused by its Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Surgical mesh.

The Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite surgical mesh was approved in 2010 for implantation through a laparoscopic procedure. A May 2016 voluntary withdrawal of the device was prompted by analysis of two separate databases that keep record of hernia statistics. Examination of the Herniamed German Registry and Danish Hernia Database showed that patients who received the Ethicon Physiomesh Composite mesh had a higher-than-expected recurrence rate or requirement for reoperation as compared to patients who received other types of surgical mesh. The withdrawal involved all lot numbers of the device, and the company has stated it will not reintroduce the product.

The first lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon unit was filed in September 2016 by a Florida woman who received the mesh as part of a 2014 hernia repair. One year later, she had experienced severe complications involving the bowel, with recurrence of the hernia. The device was found to have become stuck to the abdominal walls, causing intestinal obstruction and requiring a reoperation hernia surgery. The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, is likely to be the first of many the company may be facing. Two other lawsuits have also been filed in federal courts in Illinois and Massachusetts.

Hernia is a condition that develops when fibers of the trunk muscles “split,” potentially allowing internal organs to bulge through the muscle layer. This results in severe pain and may pose serious medical risks. The Ethicon Physiomesh was intended to be implanted laparoscopically to give the abdominal wall additional support for hernia repair. Unfortunately, patients who received the Ethicon product may have had a recurrence of their hernia. A second repair or reoperation may have put these patients at risk of additional pain, infection, and other surgical complications.

Complications that might result from failure of the mesh may include:

  • Severe pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Bowel adhesion
  • Mesh migration
  • Bacterial infection
  • Organ obstruction
  • Hernia recurrence
  • Reoperation requirement

The first Ethicon Physiomesh Composite lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Florida but many more lawsuits may be expected as more injuries come to light.

If you or a loved one received a laparoscopically implanted Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite surgical mesh between March 2010 and May 2016 for a ventral (abdominal) hernia and experienced severe complications, you may be eligible for compensation for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering and should seek legal expertise.

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