In November 2014, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a warning regarding power morcellators. These are medical devices that are used during hysterectomy procedures for the removal of a woman’s uterus, which is usually performed as a result of fibroids (also called leiomyomas) that have developed in the uterus. We are currently handling a power morcellator lawsuit.
Hysterectomies can be performed without the use of a morcellator, but morcellators are often used in laparoscopic hysterectomies to grind up the uterus before removal, so that it can be removed through a smaller incision than would normally be required.
Power Morcellator Can Spread Uterine Cancer Cells
The FDA’s warning has to do with the fact that the morcellator, when it grinds up the uterus, has the effect of spreading microscopic tissue to areas outside the uterus, and in some cases spreads uterine cancer cells that neither the patient nor the doctor knew existed. In effect, the morcellator takes cancer that was confined to the uterus and spreads it elsewhere, typically to the pelvis or abdomen.
Further Reading: Laparoscopic Uterine Power Morcellation in Hysterectomy and Myomectomy: FDA Safety Communication
Power Morcellators and Benign Metastasizing Leiomyoma (BML)
We have become aware of a related phenomenon in which the morcellator spreads non-cancerous fibroids, with effects that are not as dramatic but very harmful nonetheless. For example, there is a rare condition called benign metastasizing leiomyoma (“BML”), in which non-cancerous fibroids in the uterus spread to the lungs, usually over the course of 10 years or more.
A client of ours was diagnosed with BML about 9 years after undergoing a hysterectomy with a morcellator, and we believe that the morcellator is responsible for spreading the fibroids. We also believe that many other women have had the same thing happen to them, but don’t know it yet and that the incidence of BML is likely to increase sharply as a result of the use of power morcellators over the past 20 years.
If you or a loved one underwent a hysterectomy with the use of a power morcellator and have developed either cancer or the spread of non-cancerous fibroids that might be linked to the use of the morcellator, please contact us for a free evaluation of your case.