Power Morcellators May Promote The Spread of Undetected Uterine Cancer
If you or someone you know has had a hysterectomy or fibroid removal with laparoscopic surgery and were later diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma of uterine sarcoma (cancer), you may be entitled to compensation.
Power morcellators are often used in hysterectomy or fibroid removal, but the FDA has issued a warning that power morcellators should not be used due to the risk of spreading undetected cancer.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed leiomyosarcoma or uterine sarcoma after undergoing a hysterectomy or removal of uterine fibroids, you should contact an experienced attorney today.
What is a Power Morcellator?
Power morcellators manufactured by companies like Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon have caused dangerous side effects in a number of patients. A power morcellator is a medical device developed to remove tissue during laparoscopic surgery.
Power morcellators are frequently used to perform hysterectomies or to shred uterine fibroids for the purpose of more easily removing them from a woman’s uterus. Approximately 600,000 women undergo a hysterectomy or fibroid removal surgery each year.
The Trouble With Power Morcellators
There are many risks associated with the use of power morcellators, such as:
- Pain at the site of the incision
- The recurrence of fibroids
- Damage to the surrounding organs
- Pelvic and Abdominal Pain
However, by far the most dangerous risk associated with the use of power morcellators is the medical device’s potential to spread undetected cancer, which can lead to a serious upstaging of a woman’s cancer.
Before power morcellators were introduced to the medical community in the 1990’s, fibroids were removed and hysterectomies were performed using either the traditional open surgery process where the abdomen was opened up and the tissue or organ was removed in their entirety or by a laparoscopic procedure in which much smaller incisions were made.
Power morcellation is a very different process. Morcellation removes the uterus or fibroids by first shredding the tissue. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized, as has the manufacturers of power morcellators, that this shedding process can unintentionally spread undetected cancer. According to the FDA, approximately one in every 350 women who undergo a hysterectomy or fibroid removal surgery have undiagnosed or undiagnosable leiomyosarcoma or uterine sarcoma.
If the uterus or fibroids are removed in their entirety, there is no risk of spreading undetected cancer. But when morcellation is used to first shred the tumor, which can also spread it throughout the abdomen, the result is almost always a dramatic upstaging of a women’s cancer from stage 1 (localized) to stage 4 (metastatic or spread throughout the body).
Power Morcellator Lawsuits
In 2014, The FDA released a statement advising against the use of power morcellators for gynecological surgeries. Not long after, Ethicon suspended the production of all power morcellators and instituted a worldwide recall of the devices.
Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon, along with other power morcellator manufacturers, face lawsuits alleging the medical devices caused the spread of cancer and, in some cases, death after the power morcellator procedure. The federal lawsuits have been consolidated in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.
Contact an Experienced Pharmaceutical Attorney
If you or someone you know has had fibroids or a uterus removed by a power morcellator and was later diagnosed with cancer stage 2, 3 or 4, there is strong chance that your cancer was spread by this medical device and you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Contact an experienced pharmaceutical attorney for a free consultation. The law limits the time you have to file a claim, so call now.
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