The ProteGen sling is a synthetic polymer implant introduced in April of 1997 as a treatment for feminine urinary stress incontinence. Urologists implanted the sling underneath the bladder to provide support and reduce stress that can cause incontinence. Instead of providing relief, the device often caused numerous complications including erosion of the vaginal wall, dehiscence (splitting of the tissue), infection, vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, foul odor, and other problems. In January of 1999, Boston Scientific Corporation, the manufacturer of the ProteGen, recalled the product due to the unusually high number of complications.
In the December 1999 edition of The Journal of Urology, a group of respected urologists from across the United States reported a high rate of complications such as tissue erosion and urethral erosion in patients who had the ProteGen sling placed.
Many women implanted with the ProteGen sling are not aware of the potential complications because Boston Scientific only recalled unused slings. Women who have been implanted with a synthetic sling should visit their urologist to identify the type of sling used and discuss potential complications.
Currently lawsuits are also being brought due to defective vaginal mesh that is causing similar problems. In July of 2011, the FDA acknowledged that mesh sling surgeries provide no greater benefit than other kinds of sling surgeries.
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