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A New York man recently filed a new Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuit in the New Jersey Superior Court. He claims that after he was implanted with the product to repair his hernia, he suffered from serious injuries. He names as defendants, manufacturers Ethicon, Inc. and its parent company Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

New York Man Goes Through Surgery to Repair an Umbilical Hernia

According to his complaint, the man was implanted with the Ethicon hernia mesh on June 22, 2015, to repair his umbilical hernia. The procedure was completed at the Woodhill Medical and Medical Health Center in Brooklyn, New York.

An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine or nearby fatty tissue pokes out through a small opening between the abdominal muscles near the belly button. Umbilical hernias are most common in infants, but can develop in adults who are very overweight or who often lift heavy objects. Symptoms may include a bulge or swelling near the navel and discomfort or pain in the area of the bulge.

If the hernia becomes large, problematic, or painful, doctors may recommend surgery. Doctors perform surgery to push the bulge back into place and reinforce the abdominal muscles to keep the hernia from recurring. Reinforcement may be accomplished by stitching the muscle layers back over the weak area or by using a netting-like device, like the Ethicon Physiomesh, to shore up and support the muscles as they hold the tissues in place.

Plaintiff Goes Through Two Additional Surgeries to Remove Defective Mesh

Several months after his surgery, the plaintiff says he had to return to the hospital to have part of the Ethicon Physiomesh removed because it was causing problems. During the reparative surgery, the doctor found extensive “adhesiolyses,” which means the mesh had abnormally adhered to the surrounding tissues instead of incorporating into the body like it should. A few months later, the plaintiff had to undergo additional surgery to remove another portion of the Ethicon Physiomesh. Again, the doctor found extensive adhesioloyses.

The plaintiff states that he continues to experience severe pain, nausea, diarrhea, chills, inflammation, loss of appetite, and extreme weight loss. However, he is now at an elevated risk of severe complications during any future abdominal surgeries and so further surgery to repair the damage done by the Physiomesh may be impossible.

Ethicon Recalls Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh

The plaintiff claims that Ethicon failed to warn about the serious risks associated with their Physiomesh products. The devices are made up of several layers of different materials. The outermost layers are designed and made with materials that will minimize adhesions. However, when the outer layers degrade, the interior polypropylene mesh is exposed and can become adhered to organs, causing damage and possibly the formation of fistulas, which are small openings or tunnels in the tissue.

In May 2016, Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson initiated a worldwide voluntary recall of the Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh (for laparoscopic use) because recurrence and reoperation rates were “higher than the average rates of the comparator set of meshes among patients in these registries.”

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