Forty Percent Failure Rate and Erosion Rate! Polypropylene is Not Fit For Humans

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.” Benjamin Franklin

Polypropylene has been found to be responsible for more deaths than just mesh patients as a recent examination of MAUDE reports to the FDA reveals. Meanwhile the plastic surgical mesh continues to be sold to patients.

The FDA’s recent announcement that it would reclassify only one application for pelvic mesh is a disaster for anyone wanting to do no harm because in its statement the agency promoted the use of synthetic surgical mesh for other pelvic applications. The only way to protect women from harm and avoid severe and devastating complications is to pressure the FDA to take all synthetic surgical mesh off the market—for good. A failure rate of forty percent (between 37.8 and 44.2%) and an erosion rate of 41.5% percent (see Figure 1. Lee, SY) represents an unacceptable iatrogenic mass casualty no matter how you toss the dice. It’s not the application (vaginal vs abdominal) or the surgical technique that’s harming many thousands of patients, it’s the material itself: the polypropylene.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 8.44.26 AM

Polypropylene begins its life as crude oil, like any plastic product. Polypropylene is made up of a combination of ingredients combined to produce a product that will resist temperature change and keep its tensile strength when shaped into strands. Microscopically, polypropylene is a polymer—a large molecule composed of many repeating subunits. When polypropylene is stretched into a fiber, its strength is dependent on the quality of ingredients, the width of the strand, and the shape the strand.


Polypropylene Chain

Polypropylene is a favorite child of plastics scientists for containers, automobile parts, rugs, and countless other applications often illustrated on this blog. Patients are told the device is inert, completely safe, does not react with the body yet, it is the same material that is used to make thousands of household 81YYBL4yzwL._SY355_products, like scouring pads. Imagine taking Scotch-Brite Scrub pad and stuffing it into your most private spot.

Polypropylene reactions: Although marketers call mesh inert, when polypropylene materials come in contact with human tissue, both sides of the interchange suffer in very dramatic ways. Plastic mesh reacts, degrades, shrinks, curls, rolls, or migrates in a woman’s body. The human host is vulnerable to allergic reactions, foreign body responses, organ injury and migration of the material. If a patient reacts badly, she is in an alarming predicament: it is nearly impossible to take pelvic mesh out.

Allergic reactions to polypropylene are said to be rare and it is nearly impossible to predict who will react. Allergists disagree on what testing method to use to diagnose an allergy to polypropylene. Foreign body responses are much more common. A few pathologists took a look at hernia mesh and all of the samples they examined demonstrated rejection responses.

POLY IS FOR COAXIAL CABLESAlthough allergists believe that polypropylene carried a low allergic response, they say the longer it is left in the body, the more likely a reaction will occur. The skin is said to spit out a suture sometimes but it is nearly impossible for a body to spit out pelvic mesh.

The same material used in transvaginal mesh was once declared unfit for the human body. In 2013, lawyers uncovered emails showing that CRBard, tried to deny the company knew it was unfit until prosecution lawyers forced them to divulge secret company emails. On Thursday this week, Mostlyn Law filed an injunction against Boston Scientific alleging the corporation smuggled a resin which it added to pelvic mesh products between 2011 and 2012.


Recently, I looked at who died from mesh and tripped onto a little known fact–one polypropylene suture, Prolene, was involved in one tenth of the deaths from Ethicon Corporation products—a quarter of all suture-related deaths reported to MedWatch. Over the past decade, Prolene failures were found in 39 of 417 Ethicon product deaths yet the FDA never warned the public about the suture and there is no evidence that the agency is even aware of the problem. MAUDE event descriptions characterized failures leading to deaths from breaks in the suture or knots which unraveled. Reading the stories, I could only imagine the surgeon’s umbrage. After many hours of high-risk surgery where he carefully applied his many years of training and masterful skills to save his patient’s life, he lost his patient—through no fault of his own. A piece of polypropylene suture broke or failed. “All for the want of a nail.”

Prolene maude deaths

Until polypropylene is removed from all medical devices, sadly, women and men will continue to suffer and die.



Peggy Day is working on a book to combine all these stories. This is an excerpt from Pelvis in Flames: Your Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide. Your input is welcome to help make Pelvis in Flames the book you need to read.

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, join my group, Surgical Mesh or check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at [email protected]..


7 responses to “Forty Percent Failure Rate and Erosion Rate! Polypropylene is Not Fit For Humans

  1. Wow….just WOW. Thank you for your insightful words. I don’t like what I’m reading, but, everyone should know this. It should be introduced to every wanna be doctor, and every guideline used by current surgeons and doctors who deeply need to be re-educated.

    You’re the BEST, thank you Peggy. “All for the want of the nail”. Smart man.

  2. Something has been eating at me since I have read about other things made of polypropylene plastic. My 2 youngest grandsons were born with multiple genetic syndromes. Their mother drank from plastic bottles, at from microwavable frozen food trays, bathed with the bath was with microbeads, had pvc pipes for water lines, etc. Both babies were born with severe food allergies ( food protein induced entercoilitis syndrome ), Beckwith weidamen syndrome, & others. The oldest has 1 side of his body larger than the other, the yongests feet point outward very badly ( both have to have braces & shoe lifts). They drank their special formula in some of the bottles listed as being made from this poison, is it possible that this crap got into the mom & is still getting into them on a daily basis thru plastic utensils (baby spoons, sippy cups bottles, toys, etc) . How do we find out? When does it stop? I’ve heard it cripples aquatic life through the escape of the microbeads in our water system & is causing harm to the eggs laid & making the young fish, frogs etc be born with deformities….the president took action on the microbeads, why not everything else that is made from this toxic mess. U better believe I’m gonna research this till I get an answer, she thought she did everything perfect through her pregnancies. I can’t accept these diagnosis es when there is no family history of any of it. Thank you, needed to vent.

  3. Lynne Ruth Dwyer

    Hi. My name is Lynne and I just came upon this web site. I had a colon rectopexy two yrs ago. Mesh was inserted abdominally. Right now I am at a loss for words. The pain has been getting worse. Dr. Doesn’t want to see me. This information is overwhelming. I just thought it was me. I trusted the Dr. This is very bad and I’m in a very bad space. I’m grateful to find that I’m not alone. But that seems so small in comparison to beginning to understand the evil of the truth. Maybe I can communicate better after some of this settles in.

  4. Hi, I had a hernia mesh in December 2014. In July 2016 I started getting burning in my stomach and have seen multiple doctors and had an endoscopy done and they can’t find anything.i went to another gastro and he said he thinks it’s the mesh and can feel it and it seems there is a defect. I can feel the burning sensation coming from where my hernia happened and it goes out a few inches near my stomch. I’ve also had numbness in my arms and legs, hands and feet. I found a surgeon who will take it out. They did a cat scan today and did not note anything about my hernia or the mesh. Is the polypropylene really as toxic and can cause all these symptoms? This is so scary having to go through this. Mine is ventralex st

    • The warning that comes with Ventrilex says, “CONTRAINDICATIONS
      Do not use the Bard® Ventralex™ Hernia Patch in infants or children, whereby future growth will be compromised by use of such mesh material. … Literature reports that there is a possibility for adhesion formation when the polypropylene is placed in contact with the bowel or viscera.”
      I live hear the Pacific Ocean. On the beach are tiny shards of plastic in every color and hue. It is clear that contact with the ocean degraded them. The ocean has the same salinity as our bodies.
      Have you contacted Dr. Bruce Ramshaw in TN or Kevin Petersen in NV to see if they can help you?

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