A morcellator is an advanced medical device used in laparoscopic surgeries. The device divides large masses of tissue into smaller pieces, which are then removed through small incision sites. Morcellators are used in surgeries to remove a woman’s uterus (a hysterectomy) or uterine fibroids (a myomectomy). However, these devices pose health risks beyond the surgical procedures they’re used for. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that morcellators may pose a risk of spreading undetected cancer throughout the patient’s body.
How Morcellators Work
A morcellator—specifically a laparoscopic power morcellator—operates by breaking down large masses of tissue with quickly rotating blades. Surgeons are then left with smaller, more manageable pieces of tissue that can be vacuumed out of the body. This procedure allows surgeons to operate through incisions less than two centimeters long. Smaller incisions reduce a patient’s overall surgery procedure and enable a faster recovery.
While morcellators have many redeeming qualities, they are not without risk. When the smaller pieces of tissue are vacuumed out of the body, not 100% of the pieces are always removed. This means that some particles may travel through the body. Noncancerous particles can cause health complications when spread to certain parts of the body. If the patient has an undetected cancer, such a uterine cancer, the cancer cells can be broadcast throughout the body.
The FDA has conducted research and released safety information about the risks of morcellators. In addition to consulting these resources, women considering hysterectomy or myomectomy surgeries should discuss the procedure and its risks in detail with their healthcare provider. Ask your doctor whether morcellation will be used during the procedure, and make sure you understand the risks involved. Patients who have already undergone a surgery using morecellation should follow up with their doctor to ensure that all tissues have been tested for cancer and that the test results were normal.
The FDA encourages patients to report negative outcomes caused by morcellators or morcellation procedures. To file a report, visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/HowToReport/ucm2007306.htm.
Morcellation is an advanced medical technique that offers patients numerous advantages, such as quicker recovery time and less invasive surgery. However, this technique also comes with risks, especially if the patient has an undetected cancer.
If you or a loved one has been injured by morcellation or has developed cancer after a morcellator procedure, contact the experienced attorneys of Allen & Allen. You may go online or call 866-388-1307 for a free consultation.