Power Morcellation And Cancer
A power morcellator is a surgical tool that is used in minimally invasive procedures to grind uterine tissue and fibroids into fragments so that the material may be removed from the body via a small incision in the abdomen. Since the late 1990s, the use of power morcellators in hysterectomies and fibroid removals has become increasingly popular, with about 55,000-75,000 procedures performed in the U.S. every year. Today, power morcellators are marketed by a number of companies, including:
- Blue Endo: MOREsolution Tissue Morcellator
- FemRx: Diva Morcellator
- Hologic: MyoSure
- Interlace Medical: Hysteroscopic Morcellator
- Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon: Gynecare X-Tract, Gynecare Morcellex Tissue Morcellator, and Morcellex Sigma
- Karl Storz: Rotocut G1, G2, Steiner, and Sawalhell Supercut Morcellator
- LiNA Medical: Xcise Cordless Laparoscopic Morcellator
- Lumenis Inc.: VersaCut Morcellator
- Nouvag: Morcellator TCM3000BL
- Olympus: PlasmaSORD and Gyrus PKS PlasmaSORD
- Richard Wolf: Morce-Power 2306 Electronic Morcellator
- Smith & Nephew: Trueclear Hysteroscopic Morcellator
It is estimated that some .2% of women diagnosed with uterine fibroids actually have uterine sarcoma. Unfortunately, there is no way to easily test for this cancer. Now, a growing of body of evidence suggests that the use of power morcellation during uterine surgery can actually cause these undetected cancers to spread outside of the uterus, into a woman’s abdominal cavity. This action makes it far more likely that the cancer will spread throughout a patient’s body.
On April 17, 2014, the FDA announced that it would convene an advisory panel meeting to investigate the association between power morcellation and the spread of uterine cancer. The agency also discouraged the use of morcellation in hysterectomies and fibroid removal surgeries due to data that indicated the devices promote the spread of cancer outside of the uterus. The FDA’s announcement prompted Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit to temporarily suspend sales of its power morcellators pending further guidance from the agency.