Morcellators are surgical tools that were commonly used in fibroid surgery until the FDA warned against the procedure in 2014. The problem is that some fibroids are actually uterine cancer or leiomyosarcoma (LMS), and morcellators can “seed” tumors throughout a woman’s pelvis and abdomen.
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Morcellators and Fibroid Surgery
Laparoscopic power morcellators are surgical tools that grind up fibroids into tiny pieces of tissue that can be sucked out of the abdomen through a small, minimally-invasive incision in the abdomen. It saves time in the operating room because surgeons do not have to manually cut up fibroids.
How Many Fibroid Surgeries Involve Morcellators Per Year?
Every year, between 177,000 and 366,000 women have a hysterectomy for treat fibroids. Of these, morcellators are used in 55,000 to 75,000 procedures. Doctors also use morcellators in myomectomies (surgical removal of fibroids alone).
FDA Warns Against Morcellators in Fibroid Surgery
April 2014 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended against the use of laparoscopic power morcellators in fibroid surgery due to the risk of spreading cancer.
“The FDA has determined that approximately 1 in 350 women who are undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids have an unsuspected type of uterine cancer called uterine sarcoma. If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in these women, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival.”
What are Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are usually benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow in the muscular wall of the uterus. They are most common in women between the ages of 30-40, but they can occur at any age. Most women develop fibroids at some point in their lives.
Symptoms of Fibroids
Not all uterine fibroids produce symptoms, especially if they remain small and grow slowly. When symptoms do appear, they may include:
- Feeling of fullness in the pelvic area
- Enlargement of the lower abdomen
- Bladder pressure or frequent urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Low back pain
- Complications during pregnancy
- Reproductive problems (infertility, recurrent miscarriages, early labor, etc.)
Fibroid surgery, also known as a myomectomy, is a surgery to remove uterine fibroids while leaving the uterus intact. This option is best for women who still want to have children. Although fibroids do not regrow after they are removed, new fibroids may develop and additional surgery may be necessary.
Another option is a hysterectomy, or the surgical removal of the uterus and sometimes the ovaries. This fibroid surgery is recommended when other treatments have not worked or when a fibroid has grown very large. Women will be unable to have children after a hysterectomy.
Non-surgical treatments for uterine fibroids include:
- Endometrial ablation
- Uterine artery embolization
- MRI-guided ultrasound surgery
Need a Fibroid Surgery Injury Lawyer in Texas?
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