Morcellation Coverage Cancelled
Written by Faith Anderson on August 7, 2014
Hysterectomy Morcellation No Longer Covered by Major Health Insurer
Highmark health insurance will no longer provide coverage for hysterectomy and myectomy procedures performed using power morcellation, due to an increased risk of cancer.
In the midst of increasing concerns about the risk of morcellation spreading cancer cells during surgery, a major health insurer has announced that it will no longer provide coverage for hysterectomies and uterine fibroid surgeries performed using a power morcellator. Highmark, Inc. indicated this week that it will terminate coverage for laparoscopic morcellation surgery beginning on September 1, due to the risk that the surgical device may cause the spread of cancerous tissue in some women. If you underwent a hysterectomy or myectomy (uterine fibroid removal), and you have since been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a qualified morcellation cancer attorney today.
Power Morcellation Linked to Cancer Risk
Power morcellators are medical devices used during laparoscopic hysterectomy and myectomy procedures, allowing doctors to cut up the uterus or uterine fibroids and remove the tissue through a smaller incision in the abdomen. Because the procedure is minimally-invasive, power morcellation can help cut down on recovery time following surgery and reduce the risk of surgical complications for some patients. However, mounting research indicates that the use of power morcellation may actually spread leiomyosarcoma, endometrial sarcoma, or other aggressive uterine cancers in some women.
Possible Side Effects of Power Morcellators
Highmark is the first major health insurance company to cease coverage for laparoscopic morcellation surgery, and the company’s announcement comes at the same time that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has indicated that it is suspending the use of power morcellation for hysterectomy and uterine fibroid removal surgeries. Highmark also owns the West Penn Allegheny Health System, and the company’s decision means that, as of September, the controversial procedure will no longer be performed throughout much of Pennsylvania.
FDA’s Power Morcellator Warning
In response to mounting evidence linking the use of power morcellation to the spread of leiomyosarcoma and other deadly uterine cancers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement earlier this year, advising doctors to avoid using power morcellators during hysterectomy and myectomy procedures. According to the FDA, approximately one in 350 women undergoing laparoscopic surgery for uterine fibroids may have undetected cancer cells that could be spread during surgery if power morcellation is used, significantly reducing the chances of long-term survival.
Contact a Qualified Morcellation Cancer Lawyer Today
Highmark’s decision to terminate coverage for laparoscopic morcellation surgery comes just days after a worldwide power morcellator recall was announced by medical device maker Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary, which previously controlled more than 70% of the power morcellator market. If you have been diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, or another type of aggressive cancer you believe was spread during laparoscopic morcellation surgery, contact an experienced morcellation cancer lawyer today for legal help. You may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the product manufacturing company, in order to seek fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries.