A device used during minimally invasive hysterectomies known as a laparoscopic power morcellator is alleged in lawsuits to spread undetected cancerous tissue throughout the body. Affected women and their families may be eligible to file an Illinois morcellator cancer lawsuit to recover compensation for injuries associated with these surgical devices.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Illinois today. Our consultations are free, confidential and without any obligation on your part. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
Important: The time you have to pursue a claim is limited. Contact us for more information.
What is a Power Morcellator and How Does It Work?
Laparoscopic power morcellators are medical devices often used during different types of minimally invasive surgeries, including procedures that treat uterine fibroids such as hysterectomy and myomectomy. Morcellation refers to the division of tissue into smaller pieces to facilitate the removal of tissue through small incision sites in the abdomen.
FDA Safety Communication
In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised physicians and healthcare providers to discontinue using power morcellators for the removal of uterine fibroids during hysterectomies and myomectomies. 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.
Recommendations for healthcare providers include the following precautions and considerations:
- Be aware that the FDA discourages the use of laparoscopic power morcellation during hysterectomy or myomectomy for the treatment of women with uterine fibroids
- Do not use laparoscopic power morcellation in women with suspected or known uterine cancer
- Carefully consider other treatment options
- Thoroughly discuss the benefits and risks of all treatments with patients
Power Morcellator Cancer 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 associated with 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.
According to the FDA, if laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in women with unsuspected or undetected uterine cancer, there is a risk that the surgical procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the likelihood of the patient’s long-term survival. Because there is no reliable way to predict whether a woman with fibroids may have a uterine sarcoma, the FDA discourages the use of power morcellation during hysterectomies and myomectomies.
Other serious risks associated with power morcellator surgical procedures include:
- In some cases, the procedure failed to remove all of the target tissue
- If some of the missed target tissue was cancerous, a patient’s cancer risk would not have been adequately addressed through the procedure
- The disruption of large tissue had the potential to be spread to other areas of the abdomen and body
Power Morcellator Recall
As a result of the FDA safety communication and recommendations, Johnson & Johnson immediately removed three laparoscopic power morcellators from hospitals worldwide. According to MarketWatch, Johnson & Johnson, the maker of the surgical device, voluntarily halted sales in the U.S. once the FDA released its findings to the public. At the time of the FDA’s recommendations, Johnson & Johnson defended the use of the instrument, however the FDA has not made a definitive decision regarding the power morcellator’s future.
In addition to the voluntary recall, a May 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal noted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating what the maker of the surgical instrument knew about the potential hazards associated with the use of power morcellators and cancer. In several interviews, several members of the medical community were asked about their concerns regarding the use of power morcellators and cancer.
How an Illinois 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 an Illinois 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 Attorney Group for Illinois 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 [email protected].
When you contact us, an attorney will follow up with you to speak with you about your case or answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.
See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, and contact Attorney Group for Illinois today.