Power Morcellator Injuries
Power morcellators are medical devices used to remove fibroids during laparoscopic uterine surgeries. These surgeries include hysterectomies and myomectomies. Surgeons have used power morcellators as an alternative to more invasive procedures for many years. Power morcellators have a long tube with sharp blades at the end. Surgeons insert the tube during surgery. The blades then chop up tissue which is vacuumed out of the body.Why are Power Morcellators Dangerous?
When women undergoing a uterine surgery involving power morcellators have undiagnosed uterine cancer, the device can spread cancerous tissue. This can dramatically decrease the chances of a patient surviving the cancer.
In 2012, a study published in the Public Library of Science first discussed how the morcellator process could actually spread cancerous uterine tissue. According to that study:
“Data suggest uterine morcellation carriers a risk of disseminating unexpected malignancy with apparent associated increase in mortality much higher than appreciated currently.”
In December 2013, the Society of Gynecological Oncology issued a position statement warning:
“Power morcellation or other techniques that cut up the uterus in the abdomen have the potential to disseminate an otherwise contained malignancy throughout the abdominal cavity.”
In April 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally issued a safety communication. That communication warned of the risk that a morcellation procedure could spread cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis. The FDA also specifically discouraged the use of laparoscopic power morcellation during hysterectomy or myomectomy for uterine fibroids.
Medical device maker Johnson & Johnson was one of the largest manufacturers of power morcellators. Following the FDA warning, it suspended sales of the device. A few months later on July 30, 2014, the company withdrew its morcellators from the market.
The Blackwell Law Firm is reviewing potential injury and death claims involving women diagnosed with cancer after gynecological surgery involving power morcellators. If you have questions or would like to discuss a possible claim, please call us. Consultations are always free and confidential.