The Concerns With Power Morcellator Use And Cancer

by Terry Bryant

While power morcellator use won’t cause cancer, it can make it much worse if it is already present. Typically used during hysterectomies and myomectomies, these devices were initially heralded as a big jump forward, making it possible to perform the procedures through a laparoscopic incision. But now the device is considered so dangerous that the FDA no longer recommends it as a frontline treatment option.

The device works by mincing up the offending tissue and vacuuming it out of the body in one motion. It is typically employed to remove uterine fibroids or the uterus itself, but researchers now understand that it is not 100-percent effective. There is always at least some tissue left behind, and this is a serious concern when the power morcellator is used when cancer is present.

Some uterine sarcomas are impossible to detect in the early stages, but if the device minces tumorous tissue, it can be dispersed throughout the abdominal cavity, allowing it to root in several places at once. The result is several tumors that may be nonlocal, a situation that carries a low survival rate over just a few years. And with as many as one in 300 women harboring an undetected sarcoma, the device is a risk that’s just not worth taking.