The power morcellator, a medical device that found FDA approval in 1995, is used to remove the uterus in approximately 50,000 – 75,000 hysterectomies each year. However, there are studies that show that morcellation has been linked to an increased risk of spreading cancerous cells around the abdomen region. Have you undergone a hysterectomy with the use of a power morcellator? Were you subsequently diagnosed with cancer in your abdomen? You may be entitled to compensation. The morcellation attorneys with Arentz Law Group P.C. believe that the manufacturers of this device knew the risks, but failed to warn the public about those risks. Contact an attorney today by calling 1-800-305-6000 or by filling out the contact form on this page to schedule your free initial consultation.
A power morcellator is a special tool that consists of a tube with a set of cutting blades on the end. This device will simultaneously cut off, and shred the portion of the uterus that is known to be cancerous. The pieces of cancerous fibroids, or the entire uterus, can now be removed via the small incision the doctor has made.
As anyone ages their body tends to wear out. Joints become worn, eyes no longer see properly, hearts become weak, and overall the body simply ages. The uterus is no exception to the rule. This muscle, that is essential for childbirth, is also prone to various problems. Cancer can develop and fibroids can form, it can shift out of place, heavy bleeding and severe cramping can ensue. For over half a million women each year the answer is to simply have it removed. By having a hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, women hope to relieve the discomfort, and prevent uterine cancer from forming.
Out of the hundreds of thousands of hysterectomies performed each year, about 20% are done laparoscopically. This procedure is minimally invasive, and allows the patient to experience a much more rapid recovery than if traditional open surgery were performed. In fact, the procedure can be done through the belly button or through the vagina to ensure that no visible scars are left after healing.
In order to perform a laparoscopic procedure, specialized tools must be used. The surgeon requires a light and a camera in order to see what he or she is doing, and they need a device to cut and remove the tissue. The device that has become popular over the years is a morcellator.
Morcellators are manufactured by many different companies, but the most popular is the Gynecare Morcellator made by Johnson & Johnson. This device is essentially a long tube with cutting blades on the end. The blades cut away the tissue to be removed, grinding it up so it can be extracted through the tube. This method makes quick work of the procedure, and allows the patient to recover 4 times as quickly than if she were to have undergone a traditional hysterectomy.
The problem, however, is that the morcellator does not remove all of the tissue. Some pieces, or fragments, are left inside the patient, and one in 350 women have unsuspected sarcoma (a form of cancer) when they opt for this surgical procedure.
The fibroids on the uterus may be latent sarcomas. That is, they may be cancerous, but in a dormant stage. By spreading these cells around the area, the cancer begins to grow rapidly and aggressively. A patient who went in to have a morcellation hysterectomy to prevent cancer and relieve discomfort is now experiencing a life threatening cancer battle.
Most hysterectomies (removal of the uterus) and myomectomies (removal of fibroids) are done through a traditional surgery. The surgeon makes an incision on the abdomen, and performs the work that way. However, many women are seeking out less invasive procedures. These minimally invasive procedures make just a small incision, and then with specialized equipment the surgeon can do the work without fully opening the area. The result is that the patient experiences less pain, and a faster recovery.
Since 1995, one tool used for some of the minimally invasive surgeries is the morcellation device. Nearly 20 years ago this device found FDA approval, and since then nearly two dozen similar devices have hit the market. Consisting mainly of a tube and a cutting blade, the device is inserted into the uterus. It then cuts out the offending tissue, chopping it into small pieces, and sucking it back through the tube in order to remove the uterus or fibroids.
For the next 17 years this method of tissue removal gained popularity. Many patients were finding the procedure to be effective, and the recovery time to be lower. However, research that was published in 2012 showed some shocking evidence that the use of a morcellator could in fact cause the spread of leiomyosarcomas, or cancer of the soft tissue.
The morcellator would chop the offending tissue into pieces, most of which would be sucked out of the body. However, some of the cancerous material would be flung around inside the uterus or, in the case of uterine removal, flung around in the pelvic region. These malignant pieces of tissue would cause the spread of cancer much more aggressively. In fact, the rate of unexpected sarcoma after the procedure was found to be 9 times higher than previously stated.
In 1995 the FDA approved the first morcellator. Over the next 19 years nearly two dozen of these devices have been approved as medical devices through the FDA’s 501(k) program. An estimated 50,000 – 75,000 women have their hysterectomies or myomectomies performed with the help of a morcellator. Some of the most commonly used are:
There are numerous other devices on the market, yet they all perform the same function.
There have already been a number of suits filed against the companies that manufacture these devices. The belief is that the manufacturers knew of the dangers, yet failed to warn their clients that the use of such device could increase the risk of the cancer spreading. Just a few examples are below.
The highly trained morcellation attorneys with Arentz Law believe that the manufacturers of these devices knew that the risks were as high as they are, yet they failed to warn the public. Subsequently hundreds more women have been subjected to cancer than was necessary. If you, or someone you love, have undergone a hysterectomy procedure where a power morcellator was used, and you were subsequently diagnosed with widespread cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a morcellator lawyer from Arentz Law right away by calling 1-800-305-6000 or by filling out the contact form on this page to schedule your free initial case review.
Attorneys with Arentz Law can represent clients who live in all 50 states.