mutilated after the installation of vaginal implants, they testify – L’Express

mutilated after the installation of vaginal implants they testify –

On paper, the idea seemed attractive. To treat urinary incontinence and prolapse (organ prolapse), relatively common pathologies in women, surgeons have developed thin, long polypropylene nets to support the organs. But the machine got carried away: these devices, far from being harmless, were installed in spades in our country and abroad, often without information of possible complications, or search for alternative solutions. The risks, however, appeared quickly: urinary disorders and repeated infections, perforation of organs or tissues, chronic disabling pain.

After years of medical wandering, often faced with denial or ignorance from many doctors, the victims organize themselves, set up collectives, and talk about their suffering. Complaints were filed before the courts and the medical association. But to understand to what extent they were mistreated, we must listen to these women. For many of them, the application of these strips was a real mutilation, with a serious impact on their daily life. On Facebook groups, nearly 1,000 of them already share their difficulties, and new victims join them almost every day. Their poignant testimonies allow us to better understand the hell into which medicine plunged them and, very often, the contempt with which they were treated. Six of them agreed that we reproduce them below, while preserving their anonymity.

“My urologist didn’t believe me and called me a ‘baby’”

I had a strip for urinary leakage in 2013. I immediately had pain and great difficulty urinating. I saw my urologist who didn’t believe me and almost kicked him out of his office saying that I was a “baby” and that his work was impeccable. Unable to cope any longer with the pain and the inability to urinate, I saw another urologist: he told me that the strip was too tight and was creating a tourniquet on the urethra. He therefore cut the strip because he could not remove it, it had become embedded in the flesh.

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Since then, I have always had a lot of pain. Often infections or fungal infections. I’ve done all the possible tests with no results, so the doctors are giving up on me. The icing on the cake was that sexual relations became impossible. I have just seen another gynecologist who confirms that the strip protrudes from the flesh in the vagina and creates bleeding and severe inflammation. Following the advice of a member of the Facebook group, I made an appointment with a urologist who sees patients with this type of complication.

“I had to quit my job, it was too difficult physically and morally…”

I am 38 years old and I had an operation almost three years ago: subtotal hysterectomy for stage 3 prolapse and promontofixation (the surgeon used the strip prosthesis to raise my bladder, straighten the colon and attached it to a bone called promontory). I accepted a ten-year follow-up study with a team from Inserm but no one ever contacted me again…

My life since then has been an ordeal: need to pee every five minutes, difficulty with bowel movements. As soon as I force a little I bleed, and I’m limited in PLS [NDLR : position latérale de sécurité] for pain. Sex is very, very painful. I have pain in my thigh, my leg: it gives me discharge, I have pain in my pelvis and back… I often take courses of anti-inflammatory medication and I take painkillers daily.

I had to quit my job, it was too difficult physically and mentally. My GP doesn’t understand what’s happening to me. I haven’t consulted a specialist because I don’t know where to turn.

“I regret so much for having believed this great doctor. He opened the gates of hell to me”

It’s my turn to tell you my story which unfortunately resembles many others. I was operated on by a very renowned gynecologist in March 2016 for a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). I was 53 years old. It was the first time I met him, for pelvic pain problems. He asks me in conversation if I have urinary leaks. I tell him no, but once I get home, after thinking about it, I tell myself yes, finally I have some leaks when running or coughing. I called him back and he offered to put a strip on me, telling me that this would save me from having to have another procedure later.

The appointment is made without any prior examination or counter visit! Upon waking up, impossible to urinate. My hospital stay is extended by twenty-four hours. I go home with a millimeter flow and quickly the urinary infections arrive. I mentioned my problem at the postoperative consultation, but he referred me to a fellow urologist, telling me that it was not his responsibility… This colleague then attacked me, trying different therapies, but without ever returning the strip is the cause.

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After three months, on the advice of my doctor who saw me in a deplorable state of health, I consulted a new urologist. He gave me a urodynamic test where I almost died from pain. Unable to urinate, bladder completely swollen. Conclusion: a band too tight. He agrees to cut it but assures that he cannot do anything more. More months of urinary infections. Then, from 2018, neuropathic pain appeared, which led to an operation on the pudendal nerve and a multitude of treatments, procedures, injections, without result and with increasing pain in the sacrum, leg, the buttock, in a sitting position, lying down, when walking.

In the meantime, I was placed on disability, I divorced… I attacked the gynecologist before the conciliation and compensation commission for medical accidents in my department. I was summoned for two assessments, the last of which was very psychologically violent. I was alone in front of this practitioner, his lawyer and another assistant doctor. I fought and despite an expert report full of errors, the lack of information was upheld. I would then have had to take legal action, but it was far too costly financially.

I could have written you pages and pages about all the treatments I tried and the money I spent. I regret so much for having believed this great doctor who sold me a supposedly benign operation which was in fact the door to hell. No more work, no more sport, no more husband…

“Very severe pain in the back, stomach, legs”

I had surgery on January 28, 2015 for the removal of the uterus following organ descent, and the insertion of slings. As soon as I left the OR, I felt something was wrong. I urinated in small drops and I could no longer hold my urine in the event of a strong urge. The gynecologist who operated on me told me I had to wait.

Only three months later, still no results. And when I wanted to make an appointment again, the gynecologist had retired without saying anything to me. I was completely lost. I consulted a urologist who wanted to fit me with a bladder pacemaker, which I refused. When I refused, he texted me: “When you’re tired of pissing, you’ll come back to see me.” I was shocked by such words from a doctor.

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I saw a new urologist. He confirmed to me that my strip was incorrectly placed. Very soon after, my left leg began to become paralyzed, as if it were anesthetized. I was arrested for a year. And then Social Security demanded that I return to work. I appealed the decision but I lost and I had no choice, I had to work again. I am a childminder, and with the pain, I can assure you that it has not been easy every day.

And then, nine years later, again, new organ descent (bladder and rectum). I had another operation on November 9, 2023, with double promontofixation. As soon as I left the block, I suffered martyrdom. Excruciating pain in the back. I am still on sick leave because I have very severe pain in my stomach, back and legs. I no longer feel capable of taking care of children. And there, my treating doctor no longer wants to extend my leave. But carrying the children, pushing the double stroller, in my condition, it’s impossible. I have to see my urologist again, but if he also refuses sick leave, what recourse will I have?

“I end up in diapers”

I was given two urine strips because I was leaking. It worked for a few months and then they perforated my urethra. Subsequently, the urologist suggested an artificial sphincter, which unfortunately did not work. I could no longer urinate properly, and I was then offered self-catheterization because I was having urinary globs (impossible to urinate).

Then, I was offered an ablation of this artificial sphincter which I removed in June 2023. I had complications two days after this intervention, with an abscess in the abdominal wall, I remained hospitalized for two weeks. I sought a second opinion from a urologist. He ordered an endoscopy, which revealed the presence of urine strip residue. So I had to go to the operating room again to have them removed, and I had new complications (fever, germs). Today, I still have urinary leaks, and I end up in diapers…

“The strip, infected, comes out of my urethra”

In 2013, I had a hysterectomy then leaks and the following year, I was offered the famous strip. A month later, I complained of not being able to urinate without forcing, the surgeon, annoyed at this failure, cut the strip. Everything went well for seven years, but one day I started bleeding. Impossible, however, without a uterus! I have several incomprehensible infections in a row. I let it drag on, it starts again six months later. I consult a gynecologist because I feel something hard under the urinary meatus (opening of the urethra) and blood when wiping on the paper. He tells me it’s nothing. I go back four times in two years, always for the same thing. He tells me it’s a mystery, gives me eggs, and that’s it. Thank you ma’am, 60 euros. I feel electric shocks in my urethra.

I ended up talking about it to my doctor, my superhero. She is surprised and ends up looking at it herself. Finally someone believes me! And there, astonishment, there is a piece of plastic in my urethra. She sees it with the naked eye, with the simple light of her smartphone. The gynecologist didn’t see anything for three years… I’m rushing to see him again urgently with a letter from my doctor. He doesn’t say a word, doesn’t apologize either… but seems to suddenly regain his sight by looking where he should. He refers me to a specialist. Verdict, infected strip coming out of my urinary meatus: my urethra is perforated on both sides. She offers a partial removal procedure up to the obturators, helped by a colleague. According to her, it is useless to remove the whole thing, because the infection should not go beyond that. However, I wonder. My stomach hurts, an infection is eating away at me, pus is leaking, I want to scream. We women cry out in silence, but the bandage scandal rumbles.