Pause on Vaginal Mesh Implants
Vaginal mesh implant surgery is used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.
The surgical mesh used in the procedure is made from a non-absorbable material. This means it stays in the body as a permanent implant.
Surgical mesh is approved by regulatory authorities. It is also endorsed by national and international professional associations, such as the American Urogynecologic Society and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Vaginal mesh implant procedures were standard practice in Ireland since the late 1990s.
In 2017 a group of women reported complications after having the surgery. In 2018, Ireland’s chief medical officer (CMO) paused the use of vaginal mesh implants.
In 2018, the CMO produced a report on the use of vaginal mesh in surgical procedures. The 'Use of Uro-Gynaecological Mesh in Surgical Procedures' made recommendations for:
- patient information and consent
- professional training
- an accreditation system
- a national mesh register
A national vaginal mesh implant oversight group was set up to make sure the recommendations were put in place.
The group includes representatives from:
- the patient community
- Mesh Complication Services within the National Complex Pelvic Floor Centres
- Health Products Regulatory Authority
- Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
- Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
The oversight group is due to publish a report by the end of 2023.
This report will:
- give a progress update on implementing the CMO recommendations
- make recommendations around resuming vaginal mesh procedures
The Department of Health will review the report. It will make decisions about the future of mesh implant surgery and advise on any further actions.
Reporting harmful side effects
We want to find out about all the adverse incidents (harmful side effects) linked to vaginal mesh implants.
The National Women and Infants Health Programme and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) have a system for reporting mesh problems.
You can report an adverse incident if you are a:
- healthcare professional
- member of the public
If you would like to report a vaginal mesh implant adverse incident:
- follow the HPRA step-by-step guidance on reporting (PDF, 233 KB, 2 pages)
- read the Guide for Healthcare Professionals
- use the user reporting system
You can get more help with this at HPRA