A laparoscopic power morcellator is a surgical instrument used to cut and remove large amounts of tissue in the uterus. However, Georgia morcellator cancer lawsuit attorneys note an alleged association between hysterectomy and myomectomy procedures and the spread of cancerous tissues throughout the body.
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What is a Power Morcellator and How Does It Work?
A laparoscopic power morcellator is a surgical device used in minimally invasive surgical procedures. These procedures include hysterectomies (removal of the uterus) and myomectomies (removal of uterine fibroids). Consisting of a hollow cylinder that penetrates the abdominal wall and sharp blades that cut uterine tissue, the device minces or cuts up large masses of tissue into smaller pieces so that they may be extracted through small incisions in the abdomen.
FDA Safety Communication and Power Morcellator Recall
In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised physicians and healthcare officials to discontinue using power morcellators to remove uterine fibroids as the device could possibly spread undetected cancerous tissues to other parts of the body. Based on an analysis of the currently available data, the FDA estimated that 1 in 350 women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy is found to have unsuspected uterine sarcoma, a type of uterine cancer.
In their communication, the FDA states the following:
- A greater risk of the spread of cancerous tissue throughout the abdomen and pelvis than previously suspected has been associated with laparoscopic power morcellators, if the procedure is performed in women with undetected uterine sarcoma.
- The FDA warns against the use of power morcellation in women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy.
- Procedures involving morcellators should be limited. Doctors should explain the risk of unsuspected cancer the information within the FDA report should be shared with their patients. Manufactures are strongly urged to include this new information on their product labels.
As a result of the growing amount of evidence linking power morcellation and cancer, Johnson & Johnson immediately removed three laparoscopic power morcellators from hospitals worldwide.
Power Morcellator Risks
Compared to traditional surgical approaches, laparoscopic surgical procedures often have a lower risk of surgical site infection, less blood loss, less postoperative pain, and quicker return to full activities. Despite the regular use of power morcellators for many years, power morcellation is related to an increased risk of spreading potentially cancerous tissue throughout the abdominal cavity. Concerns regarding injury to other organs such as the bladder, bowels, ureters, spleen, pancreas, and major vascular structures have been raised.
Power Morcellator Cancer Risks
While the use of power morcellators in laparoscopic hysterectomies are less invasive and result in reduced recovery times, the devices may cause cancerous tissue to spread throughout the body in women with undiagnosed or unsuspected uterine sarcoma. In those cases, pieces of remaining tissue may be still present after morcellation and, if the remaining tissue is malignant, could result in the spread of cancer to other organs and areas of the body.
In a May 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated what Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the surgical instrument, knew about the potential hazards associated with the use of power morcellators and cancer. Several members of the medical community were interviewed, including a former pathologist concerned about the potential for an undetected cancer, such as uterine sarcoma, to be inadvertently spread by the surgical instrument. In a previous report from November 2014, the Wall Street Journal had noted the continued use of the devices even after questions regarding the safety of the instrument had been brought to the attention of doctors at a prominent hospital in Boston.
How a Georgia Morcellator Cancer Lawsuit Can Help
Medical device makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their devices, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a device maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
Patients who are injured by a power morcellator may be entitled to compensation for damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- The permanency of the injury
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of income or ability to work
If a patient dies from complications related to a defective power morcellator, family members may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one, including:
- Conscious pain and suffering of a loved one prior to death
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish from the loss of a loved one
- Funeral expenses
Patients who have suffered severe complications from a power morcellator, as well as the families of those who have died as a result of complications with the device, are encouraged to seek the advice of a Georgia morcellator cancer lawsuit attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.
The Time You Have to Pursue a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after a power morcellator procedure contact the Georgia Injury Attorney Group for more information. You can fill out the form on this page, call us at the number listed at the top of the page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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