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Can my transvaginal mesh cause autoimmune disease?

June 19, 2017 | Mary South, MD, MHA

In the wake of the 2008 and 2011 FDA public health notification, a slew of complications and side effects have been attributed to transvaginal mesh. Some have claimed that transvaginal mesh can be the stimulus for developing an autoimmune disease.

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York studied 2102 patients who underwent a transvaginal mesh procedure for pelvic organ prolapse.1

The development of autoimmune disease in the transvaginal mesh population was compared to over 40,000 other patients who underwent either a colonoscopy or a vaginal hysterectomy.

Based on their findings, “mesh-based vaginal surgery was not associated with the development of systemic/autoimmune disease.” Transvaginal mesh (or polypropylene) is an inert material. Inert in this sense means a material that is chemically and immunologically inactive. Not only does it not make theoretical sense that mesh would promote the development of an auto-immune disease, but based on this research, it also does not appear to be linked statistically.


  1. Chughtai, B., et al., Is vaginal mesh a stimulus of autoimmune disease? Am J Obstet Gynecol, 2017. 216(5): p. 495 e1-495 e7.

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