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updated: 7/13/2011 11:05 AM

FDA: pelvic mesh for women riskier than thought

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Federal health officials say a product used in surgery to treat incontinence and other women's health problems causes far more complications than previously thought and is likely exposing patients to unnecessary risks.

The Food and Drug Administration says women who have a surgical mesh implanted to support their reproductive organs are at greater risk of pain, bleeding and infection than women who have traditional surgery with stitches. FDA scientists say those risks come with no clear benefit in quality of life or outcome.

The warning only applies to mesh when it is used to support reproductive organs that have collapsed through the pelvic wall.

The FDA says more than 1,500 complications have been reported among those patients in the last three years, up 500 percent from the previous three years.