Warnings about the cancer-spreading risks associated with power morcellators and the subsequent decline in the devices’ use haven’t triggered a sustained rise in open surgery for hysterectomy patients as some critics feared, a new study has found.
An increasingly popular method of removing common uterine growths is coming under assault by some doctors worried about the risk of spreading a potentially deadly cancer.
Because information was lacking, the tool, called a power morcellator, was widely used for more than 20 years before the F.D.A. acted to limit it, after being alerted to the problem in 2013 by a patient who was harmed.
As recent reports have shown, however, power morcellation can also cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications. Experts say that prospective patients are often not told about these risks before consenting to the operation.
Dr. Reed and her husband fought for years to ban the use of a surgical tool called a power morcellator, which has a spinning blade that slices up tissue so it can be extracted through small incisions. Though the device is regarded as a great boon to minimally invasive surgery, if a patient has cancer, as Dr. Reed did, morcellation can spread the disease.
The current practice of open power morcellation is being scrutinized by those within and outside of the ObGyn community. We need to re-examine our current use of this procedure.
Minimally invasive fibroid removal can pose big risks.
The largest for-profit U.S. hospital operator said a procedure for removing uterine fibroids that has been linked to the spread of cancer will no longer be performed at its facilities.
Many women have been harmed and have died prematurely or unnecessarily because of a routine but avoidable gynecological practice known as MORCELLATION. This world-wide practice has devastated many families for well over two decades now.
The fact that morcellation went unchecked for so many years following approval, as well as the FDA’s response, highlights critical gaps in the regulatory process.
It seems likely that traditional laparoscopic morcellation may eventually be replaced by contained morcellation. In addition, it is likely that providers may counsel patients more toward a total laparoscopic hysterectomy versus a supracervical hysterectomy.
“I don’t think this is the end of the story,” Dr. Barbieri said. “I think we’ll develop technology that will use closed morcellation.”
The women's health-care community got a shock to the system in December, when leading U.S. hospitals abruptly began acknowledging that a commonly used surgical tool risked killing some women.
The FDA says surgical instruments called power morcellators may be responsible for seeding cancer in women who had hysterectomies or had uterine fibroids removed. In certain liver and spleen surgeries, the devices may spread cancerous tissue in both men and women.