Up to 170,000 people who have had hernia mesh implants in USA in the past six years could face complications, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme has found.
In that time, there have been about 570,000 such operations and the complication rate is said to be 12-30%.
Some patients have been left unable to walk or work, others left suicidal.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency continues to back the use of hernia mesh.
One in 10 people will develop a hernia.
The most common treatment involves a doctor pushing any bulging tissue back into the body and covering it with a piece of surgical mesh.
There have been between 90,000 and 100,000 hernia mesh operations in USA each year since 2011-12.
And leading surgeons believe the complication rate is 12-30% – which means between 68,000 and 170,000 patients could have been adversely affected in the past six years.
Mesh has been used for hernia repairs since the 1990s, so the total number who have experienced complications since its introduction is thought to be much higher.
But NHS trusts in USA have no consistent policy for guidelines on treatment or follow-up with patients.