Power Morcellator Cancer Lawsuit
Were you diagnosed with cancer after having a hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal surgery in which a power morcellator was used? We now know that the use of power morcellators in uteran surgical procedures is linked to the development of leiomyosarcoma, uterine cancer, and other types of abdominal cancer. Our attorneys for defective medical device claims are talking to women who have developed cancer after their gynecological surgery where a power morcellator was used. If you or someone you know has been hurt by this device, we encourage you to call 855-445-1833 or contact a morcellator lawsuit lawyer online here.
A power morcellator cancer lawsuit could help you and your family obtain compensation to cover expensive medical bills, loss of wages and more. Talking to an attorney at our firm is completely free and confidential. Let us see if you qualify to file a claim.
Why File a Lawsuit Against the Makers of the Power Morcellator?
Power morcellators can cause cancer in patients who underwent surgeries such as hysterectomies or myomectomies (i.e. having fibroids removed). By spreading seemingly benign tissues throughout the entire abdominal cavity, power morcellators may encourage unknown cancerous tissues and cancer cells to grow on other organs. By filing a lawsuit for power morcellator injuries you may be able to recover money to help cover your medical costs and make up for lost income.
Power morcellators are surgical instruments that are supposed to help remove noncancerous growths such as fibroids from the uterus. As such, power morcellators are often used in hysterectomies and other gynecological surgeries. However, the device may come with a price: The FDA has warned that power morcellators may spread cancerous cells in women’s abdominal cavities.
Because of this risk, power morcellators may increase the risk for developing deadly uterine cancer. For instance, a woman’s risk for developing the rare and very aggressive cancer, metastatic leiomyosarcoma (LMS), may be increased by power morcellators. Other risks associated with power morcellators include uterine cancer or developing fibroids outside of the uterus.
In April of 2014, the FDA released a safety communication warning doctors about the risk of spreading undiagnosed cancer throughout the abdominal cavity. Several power morcellators have since been recalled.
However, the damage has already been done for countless women whose doctors used power morcellators during their surgery.
Power morcellators are surgical instruments that are used to decrease the size of an enlarged uterus or for the removal of fibroid tumors from a woman’s uterus. The tool allows surgeons to remove the uterus or fibroids through the woman’s vaginal canal or through small laparoscopic incisions. “Morcellation” is the technique itself, one that was supposed to help women avoid open abdominal hysterectomies which, while more common, are also more invasive.
Power morcellators are the tools used in morcellation to break up tissues and fibroids and remove them from the body.
With morcellators, patients were told they could have faster post-op recovery, faster healing, quicker return to all activities and less post-op pain.
Common power morcellators include:
- Gynecare Morcellex Tissue Morcellator
- Gynecare X-Tract Tissue Morcellator
- Morcellex Sigma Tissue Morcellator System
Power morcellators may not fully remove all tissues and fibroids from the body as they should. Instead, power morcellators may leave some broken-up tissue behind and disperse that tissue throughout the abdominal and pelvic regions. That’s a big deal if this broken-up tissue happens to be cancerous — because, through morcellation, the cancerous tissue can spread to other areas, helping to cause the development of cancerous tumors. The development of these cancerous tumors is unexpected.
The use of power morcellators is a particular concern for women because a rare form of cancer, uterine leiomyosarcoma, may appear to look like a benign fibroid in medical imaging.
Typically, women with uterine fibroids receive pre-op testing and routine screenings for uterine cancer before surgeries in order to minimize the chances of spreading cancer through the body. However, uterine sarcoma rarely reveals itself during pre-op testing. Instead, women with the rare cancer tend to have it discovered only after a pathologist looks at the tissues following surgery. If the tissue was procured using morcellators, what that means is the tissue might have spread in the body, meaning the patient’s health is put at serious risk.
For all women undergoing minimally invasive surgeries where a power morcellator may be used, you should know your options! There are other procedures that can be used to treat your condition and keep you safe. Some alternatives to keep you safe are high-intensity focused ultrasounds, drug therapy, procedure to block the uterine artery, minilaparotomy, laparscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy (without morcellation), and traditional open procedures where an incision is made in the vagina or abdomen. You have choices in your treatment.
The FDA has alerted the medical community about the risk of power morcellators causing metastatic leiomyosarcoma.
On April 17, 2014, the FDA issued both a safety communication and news release alerting medical professionals and female patients alike of the severe and inherent risks of power morcellators. The news release explained that:
The FDA “discourage(s) the use of laparoscopic power morcellation for the removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) or uterine fibroids (myomectomy) in women because, based on an analysis of currently available data, (morcellation) poses a risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue, notably uterine sarcomas, beyond the uterus.”
The FDA news release then proceeds to explain precautions for both medical professionals and female patients to take, including:
- “Carefully consider all the available treatment options for women with symptomatic uterine fibroids.
Thoroughly discuss the benefits and risks of all treatments.”
While this information will no doubt help save the health and potentially lives of many women, it comes far too late for the women who already underwent morcellation.
Power morcellators are used in procedures to remove the uterus or uterine fibroids from between 50,000 – 60,0000 women a year. However, evidence points to the hard reality that power morcellators should be used with an abundance of caution due to the risk of spreading cancer.
The risk of spreading cancer comes when doctors use morcellators to cut and remove tumors. When doctors and patients are aware of the presence of cancerous tumors before surgery, surgeons can take steps to remove those carefully and in one piece. The danger comes when doctors use the power morcellator on a tumor or a uterus they do not know is cancerous, thereby inadvertently spreading the cancer throughout the abdomen.
According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), these undetected cancerous tumors may be much more common than previously thought.
In fact, according to data released by the FDA, one in 350 women undergoing hysterectomies or fibroid removal have sarcomas, i.e., those very aggressive and difficult to identify cancers.
While we are starting to understand just how much more prevalent unidentified cancers may be in women undergoing hysterectomies or fibroid removal, the actual risk of morcellation spreading unidentified cancer is nothing new. In fact, the risk of morcellation spreading cancer has been a known risk for decades.
Despite this known risk, far too many women who underwent morcellation were not warned about the risk before their procedures. The attorneys at Baron & Budd believe that fault lies not with patient’s doctors but with pharmaceutical companies who should have made the risks better understood for doctors and their patients. The risk of power morcellators spreading cancerous tumors in a woman’s body is serious, which is why we believe that the manufacturers of these devices should have taken it upon themselves to protect the health of patients by spreading awareness of the known risks.
We encourage you to contact one of our power morcellator attorneys at 866-520-2755 or contact us online as soon as possible, as this is a time-sensitive issue. Several models of power morcellators are on the market. Johnson & Johnson has already withdrawn theirs.
If you or someone you know developed cancer after having a gynecological surgery including a hysterectomy or fibroid removal, your cancer may be related to the morcellator device used in your surgery. We are talking to women about their surgical history and how filing a lawsuit for cancer after morcellation surgery can help. To see if you qualify, please call 855-445-1833 or complete our contact form for a free and confidential case review.