The link between power morcellator use and cancer has been established, so this technology is no longer recommended for hysterectomies or myomectomies. But the research has come too late for many women, who have either died or experienced serious medical complications as a result of the procedure. But unlike most dangerous medications or devices, this technology itself doesn’t cause the disease, but can spread it quickly instead. This can greatly accelerate its course and lead to fatal outcomes much sooner.
HOW CAN A POWER MORCELLATOR CAUSE CANCER TO SPREAD?
These devices are made with a long pole through which a rotating blade and vacuum is operated. The rotating blade slices up problematic tissue in the body, like a fibroid growing off of a patient’s uterus. Once minced, the tissue is vacuumed up through the tube and deposited outside of the body. At first this technology seemed like a major step forward for the procedure, as it allowed doctors to perform it using laparoscopic methods. It was also believed to be a more thorough way to remove fibroids and perform total hysterectomies.
The problem, though, with the technology is that it is not 100-percent effective and does leave behind some minced tissue. This tissue can linger inside the body and result in an infection if it becomes necrotic and escapes into the bloodstream. While this is a serious concern, a greater concern is the fact that malignant tumors may be hiding in wait during the procedure. In fact, as many as one in 300 women are believed to harbor a hidden sarcoma, and these sarcomas can be impossible to detect before the procedure, even with modern imaging technology.
If the device is used in a woman affected by a hidden sarcoma, tumorous cells can escape from the treatment area and root all over the abdominal cavity. These cells retain their malignant nature, and shortly after the procedure, the patient will experience an explosion of tumors throughout the abdomen. Soon after this link between power morcellator use and cancer was discovered, the FDA acknowledged the findings and began strongly recommending a different course of treatment for hysterectomies and myomectomies.
Normally, the onset of a leiomyosarcoma is scary enough, as the survival rate for a localized uterine sarcoma is about 63 percent over a five year period. If the sarcoma manages to spread, though, the survival rate can be cut in half or more. That not only means a greater mortality rate, but reduced life expectancy across the board.
A reduced life span is something that can’t be stuck with a price tag, as every moment is precious. That’s why many women who have been treated with a power morcellator and suffered from cancer are fighting back. A personal injury attorney can help a victim pursue a settlement and ensure the negligent manufacturer is held responsible.