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Posted by Anderson on Jun 13, 2015

Benefits and Risks of Power Morcellators

Power morcellators became the tool of choice for hysterectomies and uterine fibroid removal because it is minimally invasive. Women who needed either procedure done could avoid large incisions because a power morcellator requires just a 2-centimeter opening to work. In some cases, it is even possible to use the vaginal canal to get the job done.

This is an obvious advantage for women, because it means a shorter recovery period and a lower risk of infection. Gynecologists also favor the technique because it requires less work. With an average of 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the US annually, getting it done faster and cleaner means more procedures can be done overall. While morcellation only accounts for about 12% of these procedures, that is still 72,000 patients.

About 40% of women require a hysterectomy due to the presence of uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids affect about 80% of women over 50, but it may also occur in women of childbearing age. Uterine fibroids (leiomyomas) can lead to pain. infertility, frequent urination, and heavy menstrual flow. Removing just the myomas (myomectomy) can help solve these problems.

However, therein lies the main problem with power morcellators. The procedure itself is straightforward, but when uterine fibroids or the uterus itself (hysterectomy) is morcellated (sliced up into little pieces and then extracted laparoscopically), not all the broken up tissue makes it outside. Uterine fibroids are generally benign, but there is no way to ascertain if there is any cancerous growth until it is extracted. If some of the tissue that remains in the patient’s body happens to be cancerous, it can lead to the development of uterine sarcoma or leiomyosarcoma from previously latent cancer cells. In many cases, the prognosis is grim: as little as a 4% likelihood of surviving 5 years after diagnosis.

In addition, the non-cancerous tissue left in the patient’s body may also develop into growths on the tissues and organs, which can cause swelling and pain. Removing these masses will require surgery. Because of these side effects, the once popular power morcellator is no longer recommended for these types of procedures, according to this resource.

If you have uterine cancer or growths because of laparoscopic morcellation, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a morcellator lawyer in your area for more information.

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