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Sexual function after mesh removal

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  • Sexual function after mesh removal

    I have been considering having my mesh removed by Dr. Belyanski. I've seen him twice and after the first appointment he said I shouldn't yet consider it because my pain and discomfort didn't seem too bad and the mesh looked fine on the scans. But after the second appt he said he'd be willing to do it because of the quality of life issues basically and the foreign body sensation. He seemed to appreciate that I was in some distress.

    I was actually surprised that, though he kept saying loss of testicle was a risk (though it's never happened under his watch), he also said that discomfort and recovery after the removal surgery is similar to the original surgery, and in fact some people feel such immediate relief that they even feel better. And he also said he would get rid of the mesh and likely not do any further repair - saying that there would likely essentially be enough scar tissue ("scar plate"?) to hold things for 'a long time'. He mentioned there are risks associated with the bladder as well, but said they were low as my repair was done robotically initially with progrip mesh (and removal would be done robotically). I have a fairly uncomplicated case - single sided indirect inguinal hernia repair done robotically with mesh. He also said that there wouldn't be any disfigurement or damage or muscle tone loss that would be visible.

    Since that last appointment I have been searching for stories from those who have had their mesh removed. The challenge for anyone about to get surgery for a hernia or to have mesh removed is always that you have to weed through so much stuff on the internet that may not apply to your situation and might be very scary - tons of legal sites, people who had mesh removed by some random person nearby who maybe only had done it once or never, people who have had multiple complex surgeries or repairs of hernias that don't have anything to do with your own situation, etc etc etc. And this stuff is often not at all obvious.

    So I stumbled upon some folks last night on a Facebook group saying that mesh removal destroyed their groin and their sexual dysfunction and basically just made mincemeat out of the whole area. My understanding is that sexual problems shouldn't typically be impacted. I understand that cutting nerves and things in the area can cause damage of various kinds, but Dr. Belyansky seemed to suggest the worst case would be more likely areas of numbness and loss of sensation in the thighs.

    Anyone who had removal experience have any sexual side effects? I am waiting to hear back from his office regarding impotency risks. Still battling daily with this decision as I am uncomfortable and don't want to spend the rest of my life like this, but I am also not disabled and bedridden and don't want to rush into a risky surgery and ruin my life if I could have just dealt with daily irritations. And yet the prospect of being free from these irritations and maybe getting back to 'normal' under Dr. Belyansky's watch and not constantly holding my side and walking funny and sleeping weird is incredibly intriguing.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Hello ajm22. All of my bodily functions have improved and become more normal since I had the mesh removed. As I've mentioned in other posts it's been a slow process. but constant improvement. I was just realizing yesterday as I took a long walk/hike around a nice city that the mesh had really "calloused:" the tissue it had been in contact with. My abdominal wall is still stiff overall but getting softer and more normal over the weeks, months and years. Dr. Belyanski's comment about a "scar plate" fit what I've been experiencing. I think that the plate forms wherever the mesh was, and is a reason for so many problems. The surgeons who implant don't think about how the scar plate effects thing in the long-term.

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    • #3
      Also, my problems were very general, not problems that could be solved by cutting nerves. I would be leary of any neurectomies that are assumed to be generally necessary. Broad problems can't be fixed by neurectomy. I think that Dr. Billing just removes the mesh and leaves as much as possible behind. The mesh is the cause, not the nerves.

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      • #4
        Thanks for this. Dr. Belyansky didn't seem to think he'd be cutting any nerves unless absolutely necessary. I'm guessing in some cases that things get entwined with the mesh and it might be necessary. But he also says he would in some cases leave some mesh behind as necessary to avoid anything drastic that he thought might cause problems. He seemed to think the major issue I was having was the perception of the full size and movement of the mesh as a whole unti, and that leaving some behind (probably still unlikely) would be ok because my reasons for removal aren't auto-immune.

        He said that give my size and athleticism that he would have been a little more likely to have done a pure tissue repair via open method if I had found him originally. Really wish I would have stumbled upon him in the first place, but hindsight is 20/20. Can only move forward.

        Still having trouble deciding as my wife and others probably think I am crazy for even considering it. But as you know, a small amount of discomfort and disability builds with time into something much more. Even Dr. B tried to explain to my wife that it's like someone asking you to hold their huge key ring in your pocket. At first it's totally fine. Then it's uncomfortable and you want to take it out and give it back, and just imagine if you couldn't for the rest of your life. My wife didn't quite get it, but I think it's because she's convinced removal surgery will permanently disable me or cause some other issues that plague me mentally.

        Good to know you are feeling improvement with the scarring. I wonder if that will continue to improve. Tightness and discomfort above the actual mesh has been a problem for me and something I was hoping might immediately be lifted with removal.

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        • #5
          Also, I still shudder at the thought of a road ahead thatís as long as the one iíve already been on. But I guess if I feel like it continual improvement, thatís ok.

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