Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

Morcellators’ Role in Cancer Creating Controversy

Published on Oct 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have warned that the use of laparoscopic morcellators can spread undetected cancer, specifically leiomyosarcoma, some doctors continue to use the device.

Morcellators are small blades that can be used in laparoscopic surgery to remove a uterus (hysterectomy) or fibroids (myomectomy). The device had become very popular because it breaks apart tissue so it can be removed from a small incision, offering a less invasive procedure with shorter recovery times and lower risk of infection compared to traditional abdominal surgeries.

The problem is that deadly sarcomas can masquerade as fibroids, and go undetected until they are removed and examined. Evidence is surfacing that when the morcellators are used on the sarcomas, it spreads the cancer and can worsen a patient’s long-term prognosis.

In mid-April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the following safety warning:

If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in women with unsuspected uterine sarcoma, 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. For this reason, and because there is no reliable method for predicting whether a woman with fibroids may have a uterine sarcoma, the FDA discourages the use of laparoscopic power morcellation during hysterectomy or myomectomy for uterine fibroids.”

A controversy now brews within the medical community about what the actual risks are and what alternatives might be safe. This also shows that while the FDA can regulate medical devices, it has no authority over how doctors practice medicine. At this point, unless the FDA chooses to ban the power morcellator, doctors are free to continue to choose to use it.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a segment of the gynecological professional community is defending the morcellator’s benefits. Most agree that in the past, its risks were not sufficiently acknowledged or explained to patients. However, now proponents argue that so long as patients are fully informed and doctors are aware of some adaptations that might lower risks even further, it should remain an option.

One director of a hospital obstetrics unit in New Jersey said he first thought the FDA had overreached, but he has since changed his mind. He now agrees that doctors should stop using the device until we know it can be used safely. He said what you do about it is – you stop. People want to fight back, but it’s not putting patients’ safety first. It’s not worth playing Russian roulette with the patient.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

Two Nurses Arrested in Ohio for Nursing Home Resident Neglect

In April 2022, Sunrise Manor nursing home’s director of nursing and assistant nursing director were arrested for allegations of patient neglect. Christina Drake and Jennie Elliott are being investigated following a criminal complaint filed in regard to an incident that occurred in April 2020. The two nursing staff members are facing multiple first-degree misdemeanor charges, […]

Read More

What Injuries Do Unattended Children Most Commonly Suffer?

It is a tragedy when a child is killed or injured in an accident that could have been prevented. Most of the time, it only takes one attentive adult to stop these tragic incidents from happening. The personal injury lawyers at Thomas Law Offices look at what injuries unattended children most commonly suffer and⁠—more importantly—how […]

Read More

What Injuries Can Result From Slamming on the Brakes?

No matter how safely you may drive, you will undoubtedly encounter situations in which you will have to take significant evasive maneuvers to avoid a car accident. While avoiding a motor vehicle crash is virtually always preferable to a collision, there are times when the evasive action can also cause harm.

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
Tad Thomas on AVVO
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Tad Thomas on Attorney at Law Magazine
Tad Thomas on Attorney at Law Magazine
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion