‘THE MESH HAS WRECKED CAREERS, CONFIDENCE AND MARRIAGES’
‘Having sex triggers severe stabbing pains’
Kate Langley, a 42-yearold former recruitment consultant from East Sussex, had a TVT mesh implant fitted in 2012 to treat stress incontinence after the birth of her second child.
‘My surgeon described it as a quick fix: a same-day operation, safer than the “old-fashioned” procedures they used to do,’ Kate says. But her mesh eroded through her vagina and urethra and embedded in her bladder. Six years and 50 hospital admissions later, the irony of this breezy consultation isn’t lost on her. ‘The pain can hit at any time and, when it does, it can be so severe that I’ll call an ambulance. I take a cocktail of painkillers, suppositories and antidepressants just to get through the day; I can’t have sex with my husband without triggering stabbing pains, which can last for weeks. I grit my teeth and smile most days. But the mesh has ruined my life.’
Kate’s surgeon managed to remove the majority of the mesh, but is struggling to find a way to extricate the final piece. She believes it’s dangerously close to major veins and arteries – which, if cut, could be fatal – and is cautious about removing it. She has called on the expert opinion of another surgeon, who has won awards for his removal of bomb shrapnel in Syria and Iraq, and who could be Kate’s last hope.