Thousands of Hysterectomies Likely Performed with Power Morcellator in 2013, Wall Street Journal Reports
Nearly 200,000 hysterectomies in the U.S. last year were performed robotically, many of which were likely aided by a power morcellator, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The figure was provided by Intuitive Surgical Inc., who manufactures the only surgery robot approved for gynecology. About 10% of the time, robotic hysterectomies involve a power morcellator, which cuts up uterine tissue so that it can be more easily removed through a small incision. Robotic hysterectomies can also be performed without a morcellator, by removing the uterus via the vagina.
Companies that distribute the surgical tools boast quicker recovery times and fewer complications, despite their association with serious injuries and even death in a growing number of lawsuits filed in the U.S. According to several women who have undergone uterine morcellation surgery, including three in the Rochester, New York area, the device may upstage uterine sarcoma and other cancers that may be life-threatening; a danger that was red-flagged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year.
Power Morcellator Awareness Grows with FDA Alert
The federal alert warned women that 1 in every 350 women undergoing laparoscopic fibroid removals may have undiagnosed cancer prior to the procedure, which could worsen through the procedure. Following the FDA warning, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Ethicon Inc. announced a sales suspension of their power morcellators pending further investigation by the FDA, and a number of doctors discontinued using them in fibroid removals, the Journal reports. A gynecologist in Colorado went on record saying he rarely performed these procedures manually before the FDA warning, but stopped once it was issued. “With robotics, I could do things that I couldn’t do laparoscopically,” he remembers. Previously, he used morcellators 10 percent of the time.
Over the past year, a greater awareness about the dangers of this procedure has been raised by the medical community. This is due in part to the efforts of Hooman Noorchashm, a Boston doctor whose wife was diagnosed with Stage 4 uterine cancer last year after undergoing uterine morcellation. The Change.org petition he launched to ban the procedure from U.S hospitals now has more than 86,500 virtual signatures.
Considering a Power Morcellator Lawsuit
If you or a loved one underwent a laparoscopic hysterectomy aided by a power morcellator and was later diagnosed with uterine cancer, the time is now to file lawsuit. Call our Firm today at (877) 779-1414 for more information.