Power Morcellator Lawsuits
Power morcellators are medical devices used to make laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies less invasive. But these medical devices have come under fire for their potential to spread cancer. Power morcellators shred fibroids and tumors so that the fragments can then be removed through small incisions. But the Food and Drug Administration said in a recent safety notice that if morecellation is applied to cancerous tumors, it may cause the spread of cancer cells.
In April 2014, the FDA urged doctors to stop using power morcellators for uterine fibroid removal and to find alternative treatments. The FDA said there was no way to predict whether a woman with fibroids has uterine cancer, and therefore no way to use the power morcellators in those procedures without putting the patient at risk.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with uterine cancer after undergoing a procedure in which a power morcellator was used, you may be able to obtain compensation for the harm it has caused. To speak directly with a Hardison & Cochran attorney about your case, phone (800) 738-0449 or contact us online.
We provide free and confidential reviews of potential clients’ cases. We can conduct a thorough examination of your case and explore all of your legal options. Contact us today.
How is a Power Morcellator Used?
Laparoscopic power morcellators are used during different types of laparoscopic surgeries, including procedures to treat uterine fibroids or to remove the uterus (hysterectomy). Power morcellators have spinning heads that cut tumors into small pieces, which in theory can then be plucked from the abdomen through a laparoscopic incision.
Uterine fibroids are common growths that many women develop at some point in their lives. They are typically noncancerous and most cause no symptoms. But some leiomyomas cause heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, and/or frequent urination.
Laparoscopic surgery uses long, thin tubes with cameras that allow the surgeon to view the inside of the body, and additional devices to cut into tumors and organs. It allows access via incisions that are much smaller than required for traditional open surgery. Laparoscopic surgery typically involves a shorter post-operative recovery and presents less of a risk of infection than traditional surgery does.
FDA Action on Potential Harm of Power Morcellators
The Food and Drug Administration warned in April 2014 that using power morcellators was improper in hysterectomy or myomectomy surgery for uterine fibroid treatment because of the potential for cancer to be present and spread as pieces of tumor are cut away and spread about the abdomen.
In the wake of that warning, Johnson & Johnson recalled all of its power morcellators, which were sold through its Ethicon division. At the time, The Wall Street Journal said Johnson & Johnson power morcellators represented about 72 percent of the market.
In November 2014, the FDA recommended that manufacturers of power morcellators include warnings on packages advising that:
- Laparoscopic power morcellators should not be used for removal of uterine tissue containing suspected fibroids in patients who are peri- or post-menopausal, or candidates for en bloc tissue removal (removing tissue intact) through the vagina or mini-laparotomy incision. (These groups of women represent the majority of women with fibroids who undergo hysterectomy and myomectomy.)
- Laparoscopic power morcellators should not be used in gynecologic surgery in which the tissue to be shredded is known or suspected to be cancerous.
The FDA estimates that approximately 1 in 350 women who undergo hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids is found to have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma. If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in these women, the agency said, 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.
Legal Help for Cancer Cases After Power Morcellation
Johnson & Johnson’s recall does little for women who have already undergone a power morcellation procedure and subsequently developed or eventually will develop cancer. As a manufacturer of medical devices, Johnson & Johnson has a duty to ensure its products are safe or to provide adequate warning of the danger of using such products.
Johnson & Johnson may be liable for its failure to acknowledge the risk of spreading cancer with power morcellators it manufactured and marketed. Patients who have been harmed, or their surviving family members, may be due compensation for their pain, suffering and other losses.
The faulty medical device lawyers of Hardison & Cochran are reviewing potential claims pertaining to power morcellators made by Johnson & Johnson or other manufacturers. We can assist and advise you on your potential claim if you or a loved one of yours has suffered a case of cancer after use of a power morcellator for hysterectomy or myomectomy surgery for uterine fibroids.
Contact Hardison & Cochran Today
If you or a loved one of yours has undergone uterine fibroid removal with a power morcellator and thereafter been diagnosed with cancer, you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering and other losses. Our attorneys are reviewing cases pertaining to the power morcellation, and can help you determine your legal options.
Contact us as soon as possible at 1-800-738-0449, or online for a free and confidential legal consultation.
- Food and Drug Administration – FDA warns against using laparoscopic power morcellators to treat uterine fibroids
- Wall Street Journal – Johnson & Johnson Pulls Hysterectomy Device From Hospitals