Power morcellation has been linked to the risk of spreading cancerous tissue in patients undergoing uterine surgery. On April 17, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discouraged the use of morcellation after it reviewed data finding that about 1 in 350 women who underwent a myomectomy or a hysterectomy were subsequently diagnosed with uterine cancer.
What is Morcellation?
Morcellators came onto the market in the U.S. in the 1990’s. These devices are used in minimally invasive surgeries to help reduce bleeding, scarring, and promote faster recovery and less pain.
A morcellator is used during power morcellation to cut tissue into smaller pieces that can be removed through smaller incisions. A morcellator is used during a myomectomy, a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroids, or during a hysterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the uterus.
Uterine Fibroids & Symptoms
Uterine fibroids are found in about 25- 50% of women between the ages of 30 and 50. They can cause several symptoms including:
- Pelvic pressure/pain
- Frequent urination
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding
Not all uterine fibroids require surgery but sometimes doctors recommend surgery to relieve these symptoms for patients. Most uterine fibroids are noncancerous, but it has been found that some women have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma.
Studies Find Cancer Risk with Power Morcellation
A study published in JAMA in March 2014, Evaluating the Risks of Electric Uterine Morcellation, found that small cancerous tissue fragments during morcellation could spread to other parts of the body. Similar findings were published in PLOS One in 2012.
The Society of Gynecologic Oncology, SGO, wants patients to be thoroughly evaluated for the risk of cancer before undergoing any sort of morcellation procedure.
The FDA has several recommendations for women who are discussing the option of undergoing a laparoscopic power morcellation procedure to remove uterine fibroids or for a hysterectomy. The FDA’s safety communication recommends the following for women:
- Talk with your doctor to learn the benefits and risks of each form of treatment and different options to remedy your condition
- Ensure that tissue removed during a myomectomy or a hysterectomy is tested for malignancy. If you have already had a myomectomy or a hysterectomy, make sure to continue follow-up treatments.
- If your doctor recommends that you have a laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy ask if they plan to use power morcellation and find out why.
If you or a loved one is suffering or has suffered from uterine fibroids and underwent a morcellation procedure resulting in cancer you may be entitled to compensation. You should contact a morcellation attorney today.
Please remember to seek medical treatment when or if you experience any symptoms after undergoing a power morcellation procedure for a hysterectomy or myomectomy.