Power morcellators are surgical tools used to mince flesh and organs for easier removal during laparoscopic surgery. These devices have recently been linked to a potentially deadly form of smooth muscle cancer known as leiomyosarcoma.
Power Morcellator Use
Power Morcellators are gun shaped surgical devices used to remove flesh during minimally invasive surgical procedures. They generally operate with electric base units that power sharp teeth designed to chop flesh into smaller more manageable pieces while still in the body. This internal dissection allows surgeons to complete procedures using a much smaller incision than in traditional open-body procedures. Power Morcellators were first approved by the FDA in 1993. Since then, close to a dozen separate device manufacturers have produced the potentially deadly surgical instrument. Despite their widespread use, many doctors have voiced concerns about potential injury to surrounding organs including bowel, bladder, ureters, pancreas, spleen and major vascular structures.
Power Morcellator manufacturers?
Power Morcellators are produced by a number of different medical device manufacturers. Each manufacturer has been individually warned by The Food and Drug Administration about morcellators devastating list of side effects.
- Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Division)
- Blue Endo
- KARL STORZ
- Richard Wolf
- FemRx Diva Morcellator
- Lumenis Surgical VersaCut Tissue Morcellator
- Interlace Medical Hysteroscopic Morcellator
- Smith & Nephew TRUCLEAR Hysteroscopic Morcellator
- Olympus PKS PlasmaSORD Morcellator
- Nouvag TCM 3000 BL Morcellator
- LiNA Medical Xcise Cordless Laparoscopic Morcellator
Morcellation and Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to partially or entirely remove a woman’s uterus. There are many potential causes for hysterectomy, including:
- Uterine fibroids that cause pain, bleeding, or other problems
- Uterine prolapse, which is a sliding of the uterus from its normal position into the vaginal canal
- Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Adenomyosis, or a thickening of the uterus
- Hysterectomy for noncancerous reasons is usually considered only after all other treatment approaches have been tried without success.
Nearly 600,000 hysterectomies are performed each year in the United States alone. Until recently, power morcellators were used in close to half of these procedures.
In 2014 the FDA warned against the use of power morcellators during hysterectomy, due to a serious increase in risk in the spread of cancerous tissue throughout the body.
Do Morcellators cause cancer?
Research has shown a 64% increase in risk of developing a specific smooth muscle connective tissue tumors known as Leiomyosarcoma, or LMS. Evidence has also shown an increased risk for developing malignant tumors after morcellator procedures on the kidney and spleen. The increased risk is thought to come from the spread of non-cancerous tumor tissue throughout the body during morcellation. Many victims of morcellator caused cancer claim they were not adequately warned of the dangers associated with the tools used in their procedures.
What is Leiomyosarcoma?
Leiomyosarcoma, or LMS, is a “smooth muscle connective tissue tumor” that can affect the involuntary muscle tissue of the uterus, stomach, intestines, blood vessels, and the skin. LMS usually presents as not one, but many, microscopic tumors. Tumors can present at any site on the body and are notoriously hard to treat, showing resistance to radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
Leiomyosarcoma is a potentially fatal cancer that can present almost anywhere in the body, making it notoriously hard to diagnose and treat. If you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms, especially after undergoing power morcellation surgery, contact your health care provider immediately.
- Unusual bloating
- Lower stomach pain
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting, between periods or especially after menopause
- Vaginal discharge
- Pelvic or abdominal pain or a mass
- Pelvic or abdominal swelling
- Weight loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unusual swelling
Morcellators still in use
Despite years of suspicion from doctors followed by comprehensive studies as well as specific warnings from The FDA, power morcellators are still being used in surgeries today.
Victims of power morcellator induced cancer have successfully settled many of their claims against the manufacturers of these products for millions of dollars.