About 50,000 women annually in the United States undergo uterine surgery
via medical devices called "laparoscopic power morcellators."
Now, the Food and Drug Administration warns that the device can spread
Surgeons in the United States have been cautioned by the FDA to stop using
laparoscopic power morcellators to perform uterine surgeries on most women.
The medical devices, once thought to be a breakthrough in uterine surgical
technology, have been linked to the spread of cancer cells.
The power morcellators use spinning blades to remove a woman's uterus
or the tumors inside her uterus. What researchers have found is that some
women undergo uterine surgery with undiagnosed cancer. When surgeons use
the laparoscopic power morcellator on a patient with cancer, the spinning
blades can fling and spread cancer cells throughout the abdominal cavity.
Laparoscopic uterine surgery using the morcellators was a popular choice
for women living with fibroid tumors in their uterus. While fibroid tumors
are non-cancerous, they can mask the presence of an aggressive type of
uterine cancer called sarcoma. Experts suggest that about one out of every
350 women who undergo uterine fibroid surgery discovers later that they
According to the FDA, "Morcellating a sarcoma may spread cancer and
decrease the long-term survival of patients."
FDA's notice released on November 24 does not require the removal of laparoscopic power morcellators from the
market, but several companies – Johnson & Johnson being one
of them – have voluntarily withdrawn their product.
In addition to its strong caution, the FDA also suggested that power morcellator
manufacturers update the warning labels on their product to include the
risk of spreading cancer in women with undetected sarcomas.
If you or someone you know has undergone uterine removal or fibroid removal
surgery using the laparoscopic power morcellator device which caused the
spread of cancer, you may have a claim. We invite you to
contact a Portland injury lawyer at Paulson Coletti today to discuss.