Doctors told not to use vaginal mesh to treat prolapse due to 'serious' safety concerns

Women who are suffering from vaginal prolapse should not be treated with mesh except in research contexts due to "serious" concerns over the procedure's safety, the NHS medical standards body has said.

The newly-released guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) effectively bans the use of mesh for prolapse in normal circumstances - though it is still recommended to treat other conditions.

The new ruling comes after a growing campaign from women who say they suffered serious pain and illness caused by the mesh and were not fully informed of the potential risks.

Mesh implants support damaged tissue and muscles to treat incontinence and prolapse, conditions which often occur following childbirth.

Some women say they have suffered crippling long-term pain after the operations, with some surveys suggesting that as many as one in ten women may suffer complications after the procedure.

The latest guidance from NICE said there are "serious, but well-recognised safety concerns" over the use of mesh to replace weakened tissue in the case of vaginal prolapse.

It also warned there was "inadequate" evidence over its long-term effects, both in terms of the amount of data available and its quality.

The guidance is the last of eight different rulings on the use of mesh for women suffering either stress urinary incontinence (SUI), or pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

The body says that mesh is still recommended as a standard treatment for two medical scenarios.

It can also be offered to treat five other conditions, but is subject to "special measures" which require enhanced patient consent due to a lack of comprehensive research supporting its use.