Morcellator: No Longer a Safe Device

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Dangerous Products | 1 comment

Hysterectomy, the surgical procedure that removes the uterus, is the second most common surgery performed on women. The National Institutes of Health states that one in every three American women will need to undergo this surgical procedure before turning 60. This is to treat different health conditions, such as: certain types of infections and cancer; reduce or eliminate chronic pelvic pain and uncontrollable vaginal bleeding; remove uterine fibroids (benign tumors that grow in the uterus); and treat illnesses, like endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine prolapse (a condition wherein the womb or the uterus drops halfway from the cervix to the vagina or birth canal), and pelvic inflammatory diseases (or infection of the female reproductive organ).

Hysterectomy is a safe and effective surgical procedure; however, it takes time and requires a long period for recuperation. There are different ways to perform this surgery, through:

  • Abdominal Hysterectomy – A 5 – 7 inch vertical or horizontal incision is made on the abdomen.
  • Vaginal Hysterectomy – Hysterectomy where an incision is made inside the woman’s body, specifically in the vagina, instead of on the abdomen.
  • Laparoscopic Hysterectomy – A surgical procedure wherein multiple minimal incisions are made (about four 0.5-1cm incisions), one of which is where the morcellator will need to be inserted and another, a tiny opening for a miniature camera, called the laparoscope, which will allow the doctor to have a view of the inside part the body where the uterus, which needs to be cut and removed, is located.
  • Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH) – This procedure also makes a direct incision in the vagina. A laparoscope is used for a more accurate performance of the procedure.

The introduction of the morcellator in the early 1990 was viewed as a major medical advancement, as it helped doctors perform hysterectomy faster, safer and with greater precision. A morcellator is a surgical device designed to cut the uterus and other large tissues into very small pieces for easy suction and removal. It is used in laparoscopic surgeries, such as hysterectomy and myomectomy, or the removal of uterine fibroids, more commonly known as myoma.

The real effectivity of the morcellator, though, has been questioned after reports were made (and studies showed) that it can cause the spreading of a cancerous tissue, the uterine sarcoma, during hysterectomy and myomectomy. Since there is no medical device that could actually detect the presence of uterine sarcoma prior to the performance of laparoscopic surgeries, the use of the morcellator, therefore, comes with a great risk.

This risk promptly made the US Food and Drug Administration to issue a safety alert on April 17, 2014, to discourage the further use of morcellators in laparoscopic surgeries. Obviously, the argument that the device is safe no longer holds water – a position held by many law firms. The website of one such law firm, Williams Kherkher, says that women who have been harmed by the device can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and seek for the compensation they may be legally entitled to receive.

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