Power Morcellator Ban
Written by Faith Anderson on December 5, 2014
Power Morcellators Banned by Major Hospital Chain Due to Cancer Risks
More than 280 hospitals and surgical centers in the U.S. and the UK have banned the use of power morcellators for hysterectomy and uterine fibroid removal surgeries.
Amid increasing concerns about the risk of cancer from uterine morcellation, a company representing more than 280 hospitals and surgical centers across the United States and the United Kingdom has banned the use of the potentially dangerous devices for minimally invasive surgery. Last week, the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) Holdings, Inc. announced that it has prohibited surgeons from using power morcellators for hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal procedures, stating that there is too great a risk of accidentally spreading undetected cancer cells throughout a woman’s body. If you underwent surgery with power morcellation, and you have since been diagnosed with sarcoma or another type of cancer, contact an experienced power morcellation cancer lawyer today.
Cancer Risk from Power Morcellation
Power morcellators are medical devices that allow doctors to cut up and remove the uterus or uterine fibroids through a small incision in the abdomen, a minimally invasive procedure designed to reduce recovery time and limit the risk of surgical complications. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that women who undergo hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal procedures with power morcellation may be at risk for undiagnosed cancer cells being spread throughout their bodies. For women with unsuspected sarcoma prior to undergoing a laparoscopic hysterectomy, this can rapidly advance the stage of the uterine sarcoma or leiomyosarcoma, significantly shortening life expectancy.
FDA Adds Black Box Warning to Power Morcellators
HCA’s power morcellation ban was announced the same week the FDA decided to add a black box warning to power morcellators, due to their potential to spread cancer cells during surgery and significantly upstage a woman’s cancer. In addition to announcing the new black box warning, the FDA indicated that power morcellators should not be used with post-menopausal women or women near menopause, nor should they be used in women who could have tissue removed through the vagina instead, or through a small incision. This new contraindication effectively prohibits the use of power morcellation in the vast majority of women who typically undergo laparoscopic uterine morcellation surgeries.
A Reputable Power Morcellation Cancer Attorney Can Help
According to an FDA warning issued in April, roughly one in 350 women undergoing a hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal procedure have undiagnosed cancer cells in their uterus. Since there is no way to detect the cancer cells prior to surgery, the FDA at that time urged doctors to avoid using power morcellation for uterine fibroid removal, to avoid the risk of spreading cancer cells. A few months later, an FDA advisory panel determined that there is no safe way for power morcellators to be used during these procedures. If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of power morcellation during surgery, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a reputable power morcellator cancer lawyer today.