Power morcellators are used in certain hysterectomies and myomectomies. Hysterectomy and myomectomy with power morcellation are minimally invasive surgeries, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now recommends against using the device in these surgeries because of the risk of spreading unsuspected cancer.
What is Power Morcellation?
Laparoscopic power morcellation is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to remove the uterus or fibroids. A tiny incision is made, usually in the naval. The morcellator is a small bladed power tool that’s inserted through the incision.
The benefit of power morcellation is that it allows for a minimally invasive procedure. The incision is small, therefore there is less trauma to the cells, and recovery is much quicker and simpler than with conventional surgery.
The Risks of Power Morcellation
After power morcellation, the majority of the cut up tissue up is removed.
However, as the blades spin and chop during electricity morcellation, small pieces of the minced tissue are dispersed across the stomach and pelvis and all of them can’t be removed. If the tissue is healthy this is harmless, but if cancer is present, then the cancer cells have been dispersed across the stomach and pelvis.
Localized cancer is easier to treat and therapy is most likely to be successful. Cancer that’s spread out cannot be easily removed or targeted for therapy. The chance of long-term survival is much lower, and the cancer may not be treatable at all.
When cancer develops naturally it usually takes time to spread, meaning that there are opportunities to catch the cancer and treat it in its early stages while it is still localized. When the cancer is spread artificially, the first detection may not occur until the cancer is in late stages and no longer treatable.
FDA Safety Warning
In 2014, The FDA issued a safety warning discouraging the use of laparoscopic power morcellation through hysterectomy and myomectomyfor therapy of uterine fibroids.
According to the FDA, “it is estimated that 1 in 350 women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for the treatment of fibroids is found to have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma, a type of uterine cancer that includes leiomyosarcoma.” The FDA also says that “there is no reliable method for predicting whether a woman with fibroids may have a uterine sarcoma.”
In case you have questions about power morcellators or if you suspect you or a loved one contracted a more aggressive form of cancer as a result of the morcellation technique used, please call us toll-free at 1-800-HURT-NOW.