Further mesh controversy in Bristol – Unnecessary surgeries carried out in North Bristol NHS Trust (Southmead Hospital) and Spire Hospital in Bristol


Further mesh controversy in Bristol – Unnecessary surgeries carried out in North Bristol NHS Trust (Southmead Hospital) and Spire Hospital in Bristol

A Bristol surgeon, Mr Anthony Dixon- General and Colorectal Surgeon was suspended in 2017 and had restrictions placed on his licence, further to concerns being raised by patients about unnecessary surgeries that were done by him and surgeons trained by him.

Mr Dixon, began using artificial mesh to elevate prolapsed bowels (where the bowel protrudes from the anus), often caused by childbirth. The symptoms of which can be, pain during bowel movements, awareness of something protruding and in the worst cases faecal incontinence.

He developed a procedure called Laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy (LVMR) in around 2000, which used artificial mesh to lift the bowel and supposedly rectify any problems. Sadly, what he didn’t do was offer any other treatment except surgery when surgery for this problem should be a last resort. Prior to that, there are 3 other opportunities to rectify any problems:

  1. Do nothing – if the prolapse is not causing any interference with daily life. However, avoiding heavy lifting or prolonged standing will reduce the symptoms.
  2. Physiotherapy may help with the use of the pelvic floor exercises and equipment aimed at stimulating and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. The aim would be to relieve any discomfort and in mild cases, possibly cure the prolapse.
  3. The use of a mechanical device called a pessary. This is used to ‘hold up’ the prolapse and reduce the symptoms. The pessaries do not cure prolapse but just control the prolapse whilst the pessary is in place. There are a variety of pessaries available, but the most commonly used one is the ring pessary[1].

The trust’s medical director, Dr Chris Burton, said he wanted to apologise to patients who received unnecessary surgery.

It is unacceptable and we are taking it extremely seriously,” he said. He added immediate action was taken to “ensure it couldn’t happen again”, and patients have been supported.

“We will keep investigating to ensure we have identified those patients affected by these issues, and to find out what happened to learn lessons for future care.”[2]

SPG are the most prolific firm in the UK litigating in mesh cases, we represent over 500 patients who have been injured by surgeries using mesh.

Sara Stanger, Solicitor and Head of Medical Negligence at SPG Law said:

“We know from our hundreds of clients, the devastating effect that mesh can have.  The plastic is known to erode and disintegrate slicing through organs, leaving patients with debilitating chronic pain, incontinence and often needing surgery to remove. Mesh has maimed thousands of women who had trans vaginal mesh inserted and our American partners have successfully represented and obtained compensation for over 15,000 women.”

If you have had a prolapse repair at North Bristol NHS Trust (Southmead Hospital) or Spire Hospital in Bristol and have suffered as a result of this then please contact us at meshclaimlawyers.com so we can investigate if you have a case.

[1] https://www.bladderandbowel.org/bladder/bladder-treatments/prolapse-treatments/

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-47705748

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