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The use of power morcellators during a laparoscopic hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal surgery may cause women to face an increased risk of suffering from aggressive cancers that spread throughout the uterus, pelvis and abdomen.
STATUS OF HYSTERECTOMY POWER MORCELLATOR LAWSUITS: Product liability lawyers are reviewing potential hysterectomy morcellation lawsuits against the manufacturers of these controversial devices, due to a failure to adequately warn that it may result in the spread of cancer.
UTERINE FIBROID SURGERY MORCELLATION CANCER RISK: A power morcellator is an electric tissue-cutting device that allows the removal of uterine tissue through a small incision. The devices are typically used during a laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy, which involves surgical removal of uterine fibroids.
An estimated 50,000 women have undergone uterine fibroid surgery each year where a morcellator was used. Many of these women had unsuspected sarcomas and leiomyosarcoma (LMS), which may have been spread throughout the pelvis and abdomen during the procedure, greatly impacting their health and reducing the overall likelihood of long-term survival.
On April 17, 2014, the FDA issued a safety communication warning doctors to stop using power morcellation during hysterectomy and myomectomy procedures, since there is no reliable way of detecting which women may have unsuspected sarcomas or LMS before the procedure.
The FDA estimates that about 1 in 352 women who underwent a hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal for presumed benign leiomyoma had an undiagnosed case of uterine sarcoma. About 1 out of every 498 women who underwent the procedures had undiagnosed LMS.
On July 30, 2014, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Ethicon, announced a power morcellator recall, saying that the company had determined that there was no way to use the medical devices safely without the risk of spreading undiagnosed cancer. The company, which controlled more than 70% of the market, urged doctors to return all of its power morcellator products, stop using them and said it was exiting the power morcellator market until and unless new technology or techniques made the process safer for women.
While some manufacturers have been continuing to fight to keep their products on the market, some law makers are calling for the FDA to stop uterine fibroid morcellation procedures entirely, indicating that the risks are too great.
Instead, in November 2014, the FDA ordered manufacturers to add a black box warning to all power morcellators, alerting doctors and patients to the risks of spreading and upstaging cancer during uterine fibroid removal surgery. The agency also included contraindications that restrict use of power morcellators in almost all women who would have previously qualified for the procedure, but left doctors the option of using them in rare cases where no alternative procedures were practical.
In October 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized all Ethicon morcellator cancer lawsuits filed in federal courts before one judge for pretrial proceedings in the District of Kansas.
By mid-2016, Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson had reached morcellator settlement agreements with most plaintiffs. However, lawsuits against other morcellator manufacturers are ongoing.
POWER MORCELLATOR CANCER LAWSUIT: A number of women diagnosed with metastatic cancer following a minimally invasive hysterectomy or uterine fibroid surgery may be entitled to financial compensation from the manufacturers of power morcellators used during the procedures.
It appears that these devices were not adequately tested or studied before being introduced, and inadequate warnings were provided to patients or the medical community about the risk of mortellation spreading cancer.
Free consultations and claim evaluations are provided by lawyers reviewing potential power morcellator cancer lawsuits throughout the United States.