On July 30, Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Ethicon division issued a worldwide withdrawal of its morcellator due to the potential risk of spreading uterine cancer during certain morcellation surgical procedures.
J&J halted sales of its power morcellators in April 2014 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discouraged the use of the devices and warned about the potential to blast cancerous cells throughout a woman’s body during the removal of the uterus or uterine fibroids.
A morcellator is a laparoscopic device used during a hysterectomy or a procedure called a myomectomy to remove uterine fibroids. The morcellator divides the uterine tissue into smaller pieces so it can be removed through a small incision in the abdomen.
J&J’s decision to initiate the Ethicon morcellator recall came on the heels of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on July 22, which suggested that one in 368 women who undergo a morcellation hysterectomy have undetected uterine cancer that is put at risk of being spread by the morcellator.
Each year, 50,000 women undergo hysterectomies using morcellation, according to the FDA. These women are undergoing what they believe to be a minimally invasive procedure and are unaware of the morcellator’s potential to spread undiagnosed cancer. Thousands of women undergo this procedure to improve their health and should not be subject to spreading undetected cancer without knowing about the risk.
Women who underwent morcellation and were diagnosed with uterine cancer may be eligible to file a morcellator lawsuit. Victims and their families are urged to contact a lawyer immediately.