Belfast Health Trust purchase scanning device to further develop Northern Ireland mesh centre
A scanning device to help doctors diagnose when vaginal mesh has caused internal damage has been ordered by the Belfast Health Trust.
The news has been welcomed by a campaign group that works on behalf of hundreds of women across Northern Ireland who are suffering from devastating complications after having the implant fitted.
Sling the Mesh NI said the purchase of a transvaginal scanner will prevent women from enduring an invasive cystoscopy - when a camera is inserted into the body to view the inside the bladder.
A transvaginal scan is an internal ultrasound scan which can help doctors to see whether mesh implants have moved or are tearing internal organs and tissue.
Jackie Harvey from Sling the Mesh NI said: "This is long overdue and will go some way in helping the women in my group.
"As it stands, many of these women are undergoing cystoscopies, which are painful, especially for someone who is already inflamed.
"Cystoscopies can cause a lots of urinary tract infections afterwards and we have women who are being sedated or even put under a general anaesthetic to go through the procedure.
"They go through all that and the cystoscopy might not even tell the doctor what is really going on, for example in my case my mesh was in the wrong place but the only thing that could show that was a transvaginal scan."
According to the Belfast Trust, the transvaginal scanner will be fully operational next year.
A spokesman continued: "This is a positive step in the further development of the Mesh Centre in Belfast Trust.
"In conjunction with support from the Health and Social Care Board, Public Health Agency and Department of Health, the Centre, when fully operational, will offer enhanced patient services including transvaginal and translabial ultrasound.
"These services will also include psychological support and a pain management clinic."