Power morcellators are frequently used by surgeons to perform hysterectomies, certain kidney and spleen surgeries, and to remove non-cancerous growths, including fibroid tumors, from the uterus. Power morcellation came to be a preferred method for these procedures due to the smaller incision size, reduced risk of blood loss and infection, and a shorter recovery time.
The power morcellator cuts and shreds tissue, and the surgeon then removes the tissue through a small incision. The downside, however, is that the tissue broken up by the morcellator inside the body may also spread throughout the abdominal cavity, adhering to other organs and causing pain, infection, and bowel obstruction. Insurance companies have denied coverage for procedures involving power morcellation, saying that there are
safer options. Some hospitals have even banned power morcellators.
Because women who are undergoing hysterectomies may have undiagnosed cancer, power morcellators can increase the risk of uterine cancers, including leiomyosarcoma – a particularly rare and aggressive form of cancer – due to the release of tissue into the abdominal cavity.
Women are not the only ones who could be negatively affected by this tool, though; men may be at increased risk if the power morcellator is used in a procedure involving the kidney or spleen, as the method and complication of disease-spreading is the same. In other words, power morcellators may cause previously undetected cancers in the abdomen to be spread, and when power morcellation causes cancerous tissue to be released into the abdomen
and pelvic area, the patient’s chances of survival are decreased.
To put the level of risk into perspective, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that approximately 1 in 350 women who undergo power morcellation for fibroid tumors have an undiagnosed cancer. Therefore, the agency warned against the use of a power morcellator for women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for uterine fibroids. Though recovery times may be longer without power morcellation, and the potential for post-op infection and bleeding may be higher, there are other methods that do not present the increased risk of spreading
cancer that power morcellation does.
Women who underwent procedures using power morcellation and later discovered that they had aggressive cancer diagnosed at a late stage are filing lawsuits alleging that Ethicon – a division of Johnson & Johnson – knew, or should have known, of the risks of spreading cancer within patients’ bodies. Failure to warn medical professionals and consumers of that risk means that Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson may be liable for injuries, deaths, and damages caused by power morcellation. Johnson & Johnson eventually pulled the device from the
market after the FDA discouraged physicians from using the power morcellator to remove uterine fibroids.
When a product or device is marketed and sold without any warning to consumers of the risks involved, and the company has concealed information related to such risks, the basis for a product liability claim exists. Bronx attorneys Macaluso & Fafinski are experienced in representing clients who have been victims of product liability. If you or your loved one have suffered injury due to a procedure involving power morcellation in the Bronx, we will
review your case at no cost to determine if you may be eligible for compensation for injuries, medical bills, lost income, pain, and suffering. In cases such as this, it is appropriate for victims and their families to come forward to seek justice and compensation.
To arrange a free evaluation of your case and explore your legal options, call Macaluso & Fafinski today at 718.364.4000 (in the Bronx) or 212.480.9000 (from elsewhere in New York), or simply fill out our convenient online form, and we will respond as soon as possible. The offices of Macaluso & Fafinski are conveniently located to serve the five-borough area and its residents.