Women sometimes experience gynecological problems that require removal of noncancerous growths or total hysterectomy to treat painful or troublesome symptoms. The power morcellator is a mechanized device used to break up fibrous tissue from the uterus and is also used in hysterectomies to sever muscles that hold the organ in place. However, reports of problems associated with the use of power morcellation have caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue warnings to physicians who use the device.
Understanding Power Morcellators
Power morcellators are motorized devices that can be used in laparoscopic gynecological or other types of surgery to allow surgeons to break up tissue easily for removal through small openings in the body. This ability to be used in the body through smaller incisions allowed faster recovery and less scarring for patients. However, reports of subsequent diagnoses of cancer caused medical experts to begin looking at the role power morcellators might have played in the spread of these previously undiagnosed tumors.
Dangers of Power Morcellator Use
Although the device can be highly effective in breaking up tough tissue during surgeries, it is also suspected of causing the spread of minuscule, unsuspected cancerous growths that are then spread through the body through the bloodstream. These cancers can be extremely aggressive and difficult to treat effectively. Because there is no way to detect these tiny cancers in advance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued specific warnings to physicians about the use of the device.
Who Is At Risk?
Statistics regarding the use of power morcellation indicate that 1 in 350 women on whom the device are used during surgery are at risk for developing this type of aggressive cancer. The device is also used during surgery on men and may cause the spread of undiagnosed disease in the kidneys or spleen. Cancer can then be spread throughout the abdomen, causing bowel obstruction and other medical problems.
Warnings For Power Morcellator Use
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fell short of issuing a recall of the device, the agency has issued specific warnings to physicians regarding its use:
· The company discourages use of the device for the treatment of uterine fibroids.
· Morcellators should not be used for surgery on women who have known or suspected cancer.
· Alternate treatments should be considered for women with uterine fibroids.
· If the device is to be used, the patients should be fully informed of risks and benefits.
· Patients should be notified that their uterine tissue may contain small, unsuspected tumors that may be spread by the morcellation procedure.
· Consider collecting morcellated tissue during surgery to remove it from the patient’s body to minimize the risk of spreading cancerous cells.
Power Morcellator Lawsuits
The number of women who experienced an increase in gynecological cancers after the use of a power morcellator during previous surgery has risen dramatically since the device came into use. Many of the women required additional medical treatment for the cancers, and many died because of the spread of these cancers that may have been spread by the use of the modulator power device.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing a procedure that used a power morcellator, consult with a product liability attorney to discuss your case and the possibility of legal action. You may be entitled to compensation for additional medical costs and other types of compensation.