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Power Morcellators – the Risk of Spreading Uterine Cancer and Fibroids Exposed

By: Anapol Weiss

One in 352 Women

Women undergoing a routine laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy (fibroid removal surgery) with a power morcellator are at risk of spreading cancerous and infected uterine tissue throughout their bodies, reported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2014. According to the analysis of scientific literature, the prevalence of unsuspected uterine sarcoma – a type of cancer – in women undergoing these routine surgeries was one in 352.

Meaning: One in 352 women were unknowingly at risk for dispersing cancer throughout their bodies.

Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit, the largest manufacturer of power morcellators, pulled its power morcellators from the market after the FDA’s report. In November 2014, the FDA issued a black box warning – the highest level of caution – to help reduce the risk of spreading unsuspected uterine cancer in women being treated for uterine fibroids. The FDA recommended that manufacturers include warning that states: “The use of laparoscopic power morcellators during fibroid surgery may spread cancer and decrease the long-term survival of patients.”

A power morcellator is a surgical tool used predominantly in minimally invasive surgeries to chop up and remove tissue and organs. It has been used with increasing frequency for gynecological surgeries in recent years; approximately 650,000 women undergo hysterectomies and myomectomies a year in the United States for uterine fibroids. Serious health problems arise when the morcellator also slices cancerous tissue or benign fibroids and disperses the tissue in a women’s abdomen, pelvis, and elsewhere. The tissue can attach to other tissue and organs and begin to grow.

Contact the medical device team at Anapol Weiss today if you underwent a minimally invasive hysterectomy or myomectomy and suspect recurring health conditions may be related to the use of this tool. The spread of cancer can be accelerated, and fibroids can grow throughout your body (parasitic fibroids).

Our attorneys are highly qualified to represent women and their families facing the devastation of leiomyosarcoma after morcellation.