Bard Visilex Mesh - Key Information

The Bard Visilex Mesh was an implantable hernia mesh patch, manufactured by the company C.R. Bard. It has been replaced by other hernia mesh products, largely because of problems and medical complications that patients had with their Visilex implants. The plastic mesh used in these implants suffered from erosion, which could cause discomfort and even chronic pain. Numerous hernia mesh lawsuits involve the Bard Visilex Mesh.

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1. The Bard Visilex Mesh

The Bard Visilex Mesh was a hernia mesh implant that used to be used to treat inguinal hernias in laparoscopic procedures. The Visilex Mesh was designed for laparoscopic procedures, using mesh with larger pores than normal and with reinforced edges that were not supposed to tear during the procedure.

Inguinal hernias are bubbles of intestinal tissue that have pushed through weakened muscles in the abdominal wall and into the inguinal canal. This canal is where the spermatic cord is located, in men, making it a potentially serious condition that can lead to infertility.

Inguinal hernias require surgery to correct. One type of surgery that can correct an inguinal hernia is a laparoscopic surgery, which requires a tiny incision near the belly button rather than a larger one closer to the patient's kidney. The surgeon inserts a laparoscope – a thin tubular medical device – through this incision and to the location of the hernia. A Bard Visilex Mesh would then be passed through the laparoscope and onto the abdominal wall to cover the region surrounding the hernia.

The plastic mesh is designed to create scar tissue on the abdominal wall. This tissue grows into the pores in the mesh, fusing mesh and wall together with extra tissue that, along with the mesh, adds strength to the abdominal wall and prevents future hernias.

2. Identifying Bard Visilex Mesh

Bard Visilex Mesh was different from other hernia implants in a few ways:

  • It was a rectangular patch of plastic mesh (though surgeons often cut it to better fit the inguinal canal),
  • The pores in the mesh were much larger than in other hernia implants, and
  • The mesh at the edges of the Visilex implant was denser than in the middle of the implant.

The Bard Visilex Mesh could also be identified by product number1:


Product Number

3 x 6 inches


4.5 x 6 inches


3. Why was the Bard Visilex Mesh defective?

The Bard Visilex Mesh was defective because it used mesh that was made out of a cheap type of plastic known as polypropylene. This plastic slowly erodes when it comes into contact with oxygen, even when it is treated with antioxidant additives.

Because a patient's blood and tissues both carry and contain oxygen, polypropylene was never designed to be used as a medical implant. Nevertheless, Bard has created numerous devices, including the Visilex Mesh, that rely exclusively on polypropylene.

Oxygen slowly erodes polypropylene, causing it to deteriorate and shrink. As the polypropylene in the mesh shrinks, the scar tissues and ingrowth that it has induced in its pores stretches to accommodate the shrinkage. This causes discomfort and chronic pain, especially if nerves have developed in the mesh's ingrowth.

4. No recall for the Visilex Mesh

Bard has not issued a recall for its Visilex Mesh. However, it has replaced the faulty implant with other mesh devices for use in laparoscopic inguinal hernia procedures.

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