Urinary stress incontinence is a common problem for women – some 13 million of them in this country alone – particularly after childbirth and as they age. There are diaper-like products on the market for such women, but many choose to medically correct the problem so they no longer have this inconvenient embarrassment in their life. Imagine their horror when the very procedure meant to help them ends up harming them far worse than the original incontinence. This is what has happened to many women who had the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling surgically inserted.
Mentor is a California company that manufactured an ObTape Vaginal Sling, an implanted device that is designed to replace eroded or weakened muscles in the urethra and support the bladder. The problems occur because the material the sling is made of doesn’t allow the tissue where the sling is attached to heal; the material itself prevents the needed nutrients and oxygen from reaching the tissue. Women have suffered infection, scarring, painful intercourse, vaginal discharge, pain, mesh extrusions, abscess, and return of the very condition meant to be rectified by this device – urinary stress incontinence. The complications from the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling often required patients to undergo surgery and, unfortunately, often serious and permanent injuries. Mentor’s ObTape Vagina Sling came on the market in 2003, and in less than 3 years was taken off the market. Mentor never stepped up and issued a recall; Mentor simply stopped marketing the Ob Tape in March, 2006, but it never actually recalled the product – Mentor just let it die a slow death.
In October, 2006, the Journal of Urology reported on a study which looked at 67 women who had been implanted with the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling. More than 13% developed vaginal extrusions. Others had chronic vaginal discharge, and one patient developed an abscess that led to complications. The most telling part of the study was that none of the control group of 56 women who used another type of vaginal sling experienced the complications seen with the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling.