August 23, 2016 — The use of power morcellators decreased dramatically after the FDA issued warnings, but the drop was not associated with an increase in hysterectomy complications.
Morcellators were used in 13.5% of minimally-invasive hysterectomies in early 2013, but only 2.8% in early 2015, according to a research letter published by JAMA.
The rate of minimally-invasive hysterectomies declined slightly (59.7% to 56.2%) and the rate of open abdominal hysterectomies increased (27.1% to 31.8%) over the same time-period.
Researchers say the data proves doctors were able to perform minimally-invasive hysterectomies without power morcellators. The switch did not result in more complications for the patient. In fact, complication rates for abdominal hysterectomies actually decreased.
The conclusions were based on a database of more than 200,000 women who had all types of hysterectomies at over 500 hospitals in the United States.
Dr. Jason D. Wright, the lead author of the study, told the Wall Street Journal:
“The big takeaway is that despite all the scrutiny women undergoing morcellation are still at risk for cancer. They need to be counseled about that risk and we need to think carefully about who undergoes surgery with power morcellation.”
The FDA discouraged the use of power morcellators in April 2014, warning that 1 in 350 women undergoing a hysterectomy actually has undiagnosed uterine cancer. In November 2014, the FDA recommended against using morcellators in the “vast majority” of women due to the risk of disseminating and upstaging uterine cancer.
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