On April 17, 2014, the FDA issued a press release discouraging doctors from using a power morcellator to shred the uterus or fibroids because the procedure may spread cancer to other parts of the body. As Medscape reported, the FDA approved the first morcellator in 1995 and received thousands of complaints about them over the years, according to the Wall Street Journal on July 8. “But before December, none of those reports linked the tool to a potentially deadly risk: worsening a rare and often-hidden uterine cancer.”
The FDA didn’t investigate until anesthesiologist Amy Reed took her case to the media.
“Last fall, a routine hysterectomy seeded cancer throughout Reed’s abdomen,” prevention.com reported. “The hysterectomy didn’t cause the cancer, but it very likely transformed it from stage 1 disease, with a 60 percent 5-year survival rate, to stage 4 disease, with a grim prognosis. About 85 percent of women like Reed are dead five years after diagnosis.”
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer or suffered serious injuries or complications after receiving a procedure involving a morcellator, contact The Mellino Law Firm. Our Cleveland morcellator lawyers offer free consultations.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Hysterectomy is the second most frequently performed major surgical procedure after cesarean delivery among reproductive-age women.” About 600,000 women undergo a hysterectomy each year in this country, and 90 percent of those are elective surgery, per National Women’s Health Network (NWHN).
The CDC has reported that, of the 3.5 million women who underwent the operation between 1994 and 1999, “[u]terine leiomyoma, endometriosis, and uterine prolapse were the most frequent diagnoses… and accounted for 73 percent of all hysterectomies.”
Women between the ages of 35 and 54 commonly usually have the surgery due to fibroids, endometriosis, and abnormal bleeding, said womens-health-advisor.com. “[A]fter age 55, the most frequent reasons are uterine prolapse or cancer.”
A morcellator was used in 36,470 hysterectomies out of 232,882 between 2006 and 2012, a recent JAMA study stated. “Among those who underwent morcellation, 99 cases of uterine cancer were identified at the time of the procedure… Other malignancies and precancerous abnormalities were also detected.”
WHAT IS A MORCELLATOR & HOW DO THEY SPREAD CANCER?
As a CBS affiliate reported on July 22, surgeons use a power morcellator during a hysterectomy to shred the uterus and remove it through a tiny incision. The problem, as hystersisters.com stated, is that a uterine leiomyoma, or fibroid, which is a benign tumor, sometimes turns out to be a uterine leiomyosarcoma, which is a malignant tumor.
“If a leiomyosarcoma is mistaken as a fibroid and morcellation is used in an open environment—meaning the pieces are not contained in a bag—cancerous cells could be spread to new areas, possibly upgrading the stage of cancer and decreasing prognosis,” the site stated.
Cleveland morcellator lawyer Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have about your hysterectomy, cancer, or prognosis before Ohio’s statute of limitations runs out in your potential claim.