Is This Gynecological Surgery Tool Spreading Hidden Cancer?


The Food and Drug Administration had already warned against usage of the laparoscopic power morcellator because of its potential to spread hidden cancer during common gynecological procedures. Now new research has added more weight to those fears.

According to the findings at the University of Michigan, one in 368 women who had undergone hysterectomies for fibroids developed an undetected uterine sarcoma. The study found that these sarcomas could be worsened with a morcellator if used by a doctor.

Another new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology found that “women who have only fibroids removed with a power morcellator face a lower risk of undetected cancers than hysterectomy patients.” But the study authors state that “risk increases with age…there is continued uncertainty about the device.”

It was due to that uncertainty that some backers pulled out of the investment and the FDA warned for strict labeling and language on the device to keep women informed. According to the FDA, the main reason it wasn’t banned was to allow the small percentage of women who would benefit from the device get treatment.

Research found an overall 1-in-1,073 rate of undetected uterine cancer—nine times the risk of the 1-in-10,000 rate many doctors quoted patients before the morcellation controversy. Ladies, let’s keep ourselves informed.

Image c/o Dustin Chambers

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