I must confess that the term “morcellator” had little meaning to me until lawyers in our Mass Torts Section alerted me to a most serious problem. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Medical Device Safety Communication for “Laparoscopic Uterine Power Morcellation” in hysterectomy and myomectomy procedures. I have learned that laparoscopic power morcellators are used in procedures to treat and/or remove uterine fibroids and for hysterectomy procedures. Morcellation is the process of dividing tissue into small fragments and the removal of that tissue through a small incision site.
Some women who undergo a hysterectomy or myomectomy for the treatment of fibroids are found to have metastatic leiomyosarcoma cancer, a form of uterine cancer, after pathology is complete. If a laparoscopic power morcellator is used during this procedure in a woman who has undetected uterine cancer, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdominal and pelvic area, promoting the cancer and impacting the chance of long-term survival. I have seen video presentations that show how this procedure works and how cancerous tissue can be spread. It’s evident that a most serious problem is created.
Since the FDA first warned about the potential for power morcellators to spread uterine cancer, several women have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers. In July, Johnson and Johnson withdrew three of its morcellators from the market. Lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section are currently evaluating cases involving uterine cancer and other cancers related to the power morcellator. If you need more information on this subject, contact Melissa Prickett, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com.
Source: FDA Safety Communication issued 04/17/14
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