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Power Morcellators 101
Power morcellators have been around for years, helping doctors perform hysterectomies and myomectomies in women who have fibroids, or benign growths, in their uterus. What many patients who have undergone these surgeries or may be considering these surgeries may not know, is that these devices have been linked to the spread of uterine cancer in patients. Here is some information on the device, including why it is used and the previously overlooked danger it poses.
Why Power Morcellators are Used
Power morcellators were marketed as an improvement over the old, manual morcellators that doctors used during hysterectomies. In fact, the old devices often caused injuries in doctors similar to tennis elbow. The newer version easily fits into a small hole in the abdomen, helping women heal faster after their surgery.
The Hidden Risk
Unfortunately, this increased convenience came with a price. In many instances, what appears to be a harmless fibroid could actually be a cancerous tumor. When these tumors are torn apart, or morcellated, cancerous tissue can be spread in the body. When this happens, of course, chances for survival are significantly reduced.
In 2013, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston announced that a power morcellator had inadvertently made a woman’s hidden cancer worse. A year later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised doctors not to use the device. The largest manufacturer of the device, Johnson & Johnson, took the device off the market in July 2014.
A Change in Philosophy
While the FDA did not issue an outright ban on power morcellators, many gynecologists have decided on their own not to use them. Doctors have several alternatives when performing a hysterectomy, including a procedure known as a “mini-laparotomy.” This is where the uterus is removed using a small incision that is typically between 1.5 and 3 inches.
Plaintiffs in lawsuits across the U.S. allege that power morcellators have caused severe – and, in many cases, fatal – injuries in women. If you or someone you love has been harmed by this device, please contact Baron & Budd to learn how we may be able to help. Please call 855-445-1833 or complete our contact form to get started online.