About a half million American women undergo a hysterectomy each year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Laparoscopic power morcellators are used in about 50,000 of those hysterectomies.
A laparoscopic power morcellator is a minimally invasive tool that was introduced in 1993 to remove the uterus. The blades of the morcellator chop the uterus into tiny fragments so they can be removed through a small laparoscopic incision.
In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discouraged doctors from performing hysterectomies and myomectomies – the removal of uterine fibroids-stating that the procedure poses a hidden risk of spreading undetected uterine cancer.
During the morcellation process, undetected cancerous cells may be blasted into the pelvis and abdomen. Those cells can then spread and upstage the patient’s cancer from a stage 1 to a very severe stage 4.
Uterine sarcoma affects one out of 10,000 women, but about one in 500 of those have an undetected sarcoma believed to be a fibroid. Undetected uterine sarcomas are very often mistaken for fibroids because it’s almost impossible, even with MRIS, CT scans and biopsies to detect hidden sarcomas prior to surgery, according to Center News. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in July 2014 suggested that one in 368 women undergoing a hysterectomy has a hidden sarcoma believed to be a fibroid. If that one woman undergoes morcellation, she could be dealing with an advanced stage of cancer after a hysterectomy.
Women who were diagnosed with uterine cancer after a hysterectomy may be able to take legal action if a morecellator was used during surgery. Morcellation cancer victims are urged to contact a morcellator lawyer to discuss their legal options.