In mid-April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety warning about the use of certain types of laporoscopic techniques. The devices – called morcellators – use small blades to break apart tissue so it can be removed through small incisions.
This procedure has been widely used to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) or to remove uterine fibroids (myomectomy). Laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies have become popular because they are less invasive and offer shorter post-operative recovery time; they also pose a lower risk of infection compared to abdominal hysterectomy and myomectomy.
The problem with the procedure is that if the tissue being removed turns out to be cancerous, the blading process can spread that tissue around the body. Spreading the tissue can worsen the cancer, thus downgrade the patient’s prognosis for recovery from the cancer. Depositing the tissue in other areas of the body can also lead to other painful adverse events.