The power morcellator used in hysterectomies or to remove pre-cancerous uterine fibroids has been linked with leiomyosarcoma. Our law firm is handling leiomyosarcoma lawsuits in which a woman submitted to surgery with a power morcellator. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma after surgery which used a power morcellator, contact us for a free legal consultation.
The first power morcellator was approved by the FDA in 1995. The morcellator was, and is, promoted as a device that can make surgery for uterine fibroids or full hysterectomy less invasive. The morcellator works like a scalpel by using rapidly rotating blades. It also works as a vacuum which removes fibroid material through a small abdominal incision.
Despite its touted benefits, the problem with the morcellator was, and is, that fibroids are supposed to be non cancerous. Most of them are, but not all. An estimated one in every 350 women has undiagnosed cancer prior to fibroid removal or hysterectomy surgery. When a morcellator is used on a woman with undetected cancer, the powerful cutting tool can weaponize that cancer and spread it throughout the body, potentially turning it lethal.
Johnson & Johnson halts Morcellator Sales
Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, is one of the world’s largest morcellator makers. Pending further investigation, Ethicon has halted morcellator production and sales.
Morcellator Cancer Link
Ethicon and other morcellator makers are now facing lawsuits. Plaintiffs such as Dr. Amy Reed – who died of leiomyosarcoma after submitting to surgery with a morcellator – allege that the power morcellator can trigger a deadly form of cancer throughout the body when used in laparoscopic surgery. Johnson & Johnson and other morcellator makers have settled some of these lawsuits out of court.
What is a Power Morcellator?
Much simpler to use than a traditional scalpel, the power morcellator is a long, tube-shaped blade that slices and dices uterine tissue into smaller pieces. This makes it easier to remove them from the body. Many doctors prefer this tool because of the simplicity and shorter recovery time it brings.
FDA Morcellator Alert
Power morcellators have been popular tools for laparoscopic hysterectomies. Since FDA approval, more than 50,000 procedures have been performed yearly with these devices. However, due to recent safety concerns, the FDA issued an alert that encourages doctors to perform surgery without morcellators, at least until more research can be done concerning the risks.
Leiomyosarcoma and Uterine Sarcoma
Benign tumors are often found inside the uterus. A myomectomy is performed to remove these tumors. However, the growths may contain groups of cancerous cells. Despite pre-surgical screenings, it is possible for cancer to go undetected. When this happens, shredding and distributing these tumors may cause uterine cancers to grow in other parts of the body. Leiomyosarcoma and uterine sarcoma are the worst and deadliest of these cancers that begin in the uterus and spread to surrounding areas. These are detected too late, and the spread is uncontrollable. The FDA has released data that supports the statistic that one in 350 women who undergo myomectomies with power morcellators may develop uterine sarcoma.
Increasing Health Worries
In addition to the FDA alert, Health Canada issued a similar warning whichasked doctors to cease using power morcellators pending further research.
Uterine Cancer Lawsuits
Even though Ethicon has halted production of the power morcellators, no recalls have been activated, and no facilities are stopped from using them at individual discretion. In fact, J&J stands behind the idea that all of its products are safe – including talcum powder.Before the FDA’s safety announcement over morcellators, survivors of a Pennsylvania woman who died after morcellation filed suit against Ethicon. The 53-year-old woman died from metsatic Leiomyosarcoma within months of receiving a hysterectomy that used a Gynecare morcellator. The lawsuit charged Ethicon with failing to warn patients about the risks of using morcellators.
Leiomyosarcoma Lawsuit Consultation
Our law firm is handling leiomyosarcoma lawsuits. Anyone who has developed uterine or another form of cancer after undergoing surgery with a morcellator can contact us for a free case evaluation