The Link Between Uterine Cancer And Power Morcellator


The link between uterine cancer and power morcellator use has only recently been discovered, even though this device has been used in a variety of gynecological surgeries for many years. Invented in 1993, the morcellation device consists of a long, streamlined cylinder that contains a small blade and a clamp. It designed to precisely remove diseased tissues with minimal pain or collateral damage. This made it a natural choice for hysterectomies and fibroid removal through laparoscopic procedures. However, even with their precision, the side effects associated with their use were not well understood for more than two decades. An FDA review of adverse incident reports, though, has demonstrated significant concerns for patients and doctors.

HOW ARE UTERINE CANCER AND POWER MORCELLATOR USE ASSOCIATED WITH EACH OTHER?

During the procedure, the morcellator is positioned near the diseased tissue and the blade is used to cut out the problem area. The clamp then grabs the tissue and pulls it through the cylinder. This procedure is often used for the removal of fibroids, which are typically benign growths in the uterus that can range in size and cause pain, bleeding, bloating, constipation, or prolonged menstruation.

Though fibroids are almost always benign, there are rare cases (about 1 in 350 women) when the growths are cancerous and capable of metastasis. Non-benign growths are known as sarcomas, and if they are not identified prior to the procedure, this device can encourage their dissemination in the body. In some cases, even the removal of benign growths can worsen a patient’s condition.

Procedures performed with this device can cause what is known as tissue seeding. If a doctor is not experienced enough and careful during the procedure, some tissue may be left behind after the surgery. When sarcomas are present, a procedure performed with this device can disrupt the sarcomas and leave them behind to migrate in the abdomen. As a result, what was initially a localized sarcoma may now be spread throughout the body and metastasis further. In most cases when sarcomas are spread in this way, the tumors will go unnoticed for a long period of time. Once discovered, they are usually referred to as occult tumors, which means that their origination point is unknown. It is more difficult to treat occult tumors, which may mean an even worse prognosis for the patient.

Even in cases where only benign fibroids are present, a hysterectomy or procedure performed with this technology may spread the growths. While this isn’t as problematic as spreading sarcomas, it can make a patient’s condition more difficult to treat, resulting in more expensive medical treatment.

This link between uterine cancer and power morcellator use has forced the Food and Drug Administration to take further action regarding the treatment, and further reviews of the data will be enacted. Of the several manufacturers who produce these devices, one (Johnson & Johnson) has already stopped selling the technology until more is known.

If you have undergone a procedure using this device and have developed sarcomas, consider speaking to the personal injury lawyers with Terry Bryant. We are experienced in a variety of medical malpractice and medical product liability cases. We can help victims get the compensation they deserve.