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Transvaginal mesh is a medical device used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). It is a permanent implant designed to strengthen a weakened vaginal wall in the instance of POP or to reinforce the urethra to treat SUI. In 2011, the FDA issued a follow-up of its health notification from three years previous, which alerted people to the complications linked to transvaginal mesh when treating either of these medical conditions.

The updated safety alert identified additional concerns and growing numbers of reported difficulties involving surgical mesh devices. From the time between the initial communication in 2008 through to the end of 2010, the FDA recognized that complications were continuing at a high rate and were not considered a rare occurrence. More than 1,500 additional cases involving transvaginal mesh for POP repairs were documented and nearly 1,400 reports were linked to repairs for urinary continence.

According to The Harvard Medical School, over 1 in every 10 women will undergo prolapse surgery by the time they turn 80 years of age. Prolapse may be discovered during regular pelvic exams or carry symptoms including:

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With cancer rates at an all-time high and cancer remaining a leading cause of death in the United States, the word biopsy has become a household term. A biopsy, according to WebMD, is the examination of a contaminated tissue that was removed from the body to determine what disease—or to what extent the disease is present—is afflicting a patient. A patient will undergo a biopsy if he or she has abnormal test results or if a medical practitioner suspects that it could identify an unidentified condition. There are several types of biopsies, according to WebMD. A surgical biopsy is one of the most common, and one of the most dangerous. In a surgical biopsy, a surgeon will either remove a part of tissue or a whole lump of tissue.

Because of the sensitive nature of biopsies, especially in cases in which a patient may already be ill or injured, equipment used in the procedure must be painstakingly considered. When biopsy medical devices are recalled, it can be a very serious issue for any patient involved. One such recall issued in 2011 just recently expired, but not before implicating thousands of patients. In 2011, DeRoyal Industries, based in Tennessee, issued a recall of their Geomed Biopsy Tray, an all-inclusive tool kit used by surgeons to perform the invasive procedure. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there were several products included in the tray that were potentially contaminated, including triad lubricating jelly, alcohol prep pads, and alcohol swabs.

According to the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID), Center for Disease Control data suggests that 1.7 million people contract infections in U.S. hospitals every year. The RID posits that number is actually seven times higher than that. Contamination from faulty medical equipment, such as the recalled biopsy tray, is one major culprit of such infection. Medical equipment that is not sterilized properly can not only transmit infection borne at the manufacturing site, but also obtained at the hospital itself.

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A breakthrough in the medical community came for migraine sufferers this November, according to MedicalXPress.com. A study from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine found that nerves in the brains of patients who suffered migraines show abnormalities of the “myelin sheath that serves as insulation around nerve fibers,” MedicalXPress.com reports. The study involved observing 15 patients who underwent a surgical treatment that attempted to reduce the negative effects of serious migraines, and included electron microscopy that assessed the structure of cell nerves in patient's brains. The study also examined the presence and function of cranial proteins in migraine patients.

Ultimately, the study found that patients whose myelin sheath was damaged were more likely to suffer migraines. As a result, one doctor in the study “developed migraine surgery techniques after noticing that some migraine patients had reduced headache activity after cosmetic forehead-lifting.” This type of cosmetic surgery removes some of the muscle and vessel tissue surrounding cranial nerves.

This is great news for people who suffer migraines because migraine drugs have long been very prone to negative side effects in patients. According to Healthline, painkillers, often prescribed and taken for migraines, can have severe side effects affecting the stomach and kidneys and can result in heart attack or stroke. Because these painkillers are so common, doctors sometimes neglect to make their patients aware of how serious of a drug they can be if misused.

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Many risks of anti-depressants are relatively well-known and publicized. One of the most common side effects of anti-depressants occurs when expectant mothers take them. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor antidepressants (SSRIs) have a very high risk of resulting in birth defects in a newborn, reports the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institute for Health (NIH).

By some estimates, between 20 and 30 percent of newborns who are “exposed to SSRIs towards the end of gestation have disorders such as agitation, abnormal muscle tone and suction, seizures and hypornatraemia.” This research was first made public in late 2005, according to NIH, and immediately pregnant women who were taking SSRIs were advised to seek alternative therapies and, in some cases, even encouraged to reevaluate the diagnosis.

And yet birth defects, while perhaps the best-known side effects of SSRIs, may not be the most severe or serious. According to a publication from the Harvard Medical School, SSRIs can also result in serious physical symptoms ranging from insomnia to stomach issues, skin rashes, and joint or muscle pain. The risk of internal bleeding is approximately the same as it is with NSAIDs, found in common medications such as aspirin and naproxen.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its largest recall of medical products ever in 2014, according to the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS). The recall, posted to the FDA's website in August, was of 233 Class I products manufactured by Puerto Rico-based Customed.

The FDA classifies medical devices and products into three categories: Class I have the least potential to harm a user—Class III products are usually those that sustain life. Class I examples can include bandages, enema kits, and any medical product not necessary to keep a person's vital organs functioning. Nearly half of all medical products on the market are classified into Class I, according to the FDA.

The devices recalled by Customed were recalled because of packaging flaws. The products were primarily sterile convenience packs; the recall was initiated because of “adhesion in the sterile packaging,” according to RAPS. If the product was used on a patient, it had the potential to not be sterile and lead to infection, though as of September, no cases had been discovered of a person suffering an infection or side effects because of Customed products. The FDA generally does not wait until a case of injury has been discovered to recall medical products; once the manufacturer is aware of the problem, it is responsible to initiate a recall immediately.

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