The attorneys at Van Wey Law are investigating claims on behalf of women who developed cancer after undergoing hysterectomies or myomectomies (removal of uterine fibroids).
In April 2014, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that is extremely important and relevant for all women who have had surgery to remove fibroids, or are considering this surgery.
The reason for concern is a surgical tool called the laparoscopic power morcellator, and the risk is especially high for women with known or suspected uterine cancer. The power morcellator can spread undetected cancer cells throughout the body, reducing the likelihood of survival of its victims significantly.
When is a Power Morcellator Typically Used?
Many women elect for laparoscopic surgery for myomectomy or hysterectomy because this is associated with a reduced recovery period and a decreased risk of infection when compared to abdominal procedures. In a laparoscopic power morcellation procedure, the morcellator is a device used to cut through tissue electrically.
Power morcellation is commonly used in the following procedures:
Many Women Affected
The FDA believes that as many as 50,000 women have hysterectomy morcellation surgery every year, 1 in every 350 women in this group is found to be afflicted with uterine cancer. At present, there’s no scientific and reliable method for predicting which women with uterine fibroids also have uterine sarcoma, and this is the reason the FDA is discouraging laparoscopic power morcellation during these procedures.
Since 1995, when the device was approved, hundreds of thousands of women have gone through these procedures. This option is quite popular with doctors because it allows for the removal of abdominal tissue with just a small incision.
Other Power Morcellator Risks
Recent research has also demonstrated that there are non-cancerous risks associated with power morcellation as well. The power morcellator is touted as a minimally-invasive option, but more and more patients are reporting problems after going through a procedure where one was used. One
mother discovered non-cancerous tumors that led to multiple organ resection and removal procedures. Another woman experienced bowel obstruction and yet another was afflicted with an abdominal mass.
The reality is that, although research is still being conducted to determine the true risks of these power morcellators, the early reports from patients are certainly cause for concern for any woman who has already had the surgery or is planning to have it done.
Did Drug Manufacturers Know About the Dangers?
It is believed that the tools used in power morcellation were not properly tested before being deployed in the marketplace.
Currently, there’s no way of knowing whether fibroids are cancerous before surgery, but there are reports about the spread of cancer after the power morcellator is used to remove cancerous fibroids. The FDA has discouraged the use of these devices in general since some women began reporting undiagnosed cancer.
Since then, insurance companies have elected to stop providing coverage for these kinds of procedures, and in September the most popular model was voluntarily recalled. Several months after that recall, the FDA released the a black box warning detailing increased risk would be added to the products themselves.
Women and those in the medical community were not appropriately informed of the potential cancer risks of procedures with power morcellators. Because of this, women who are victims, as well as their loved ones, may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of these deadly tools.
How We Can Help
By filing a lawsuit, our lawyers may be able to help you hold the defective device manufacturers responsible for their wrongdoing. This could lead to payment of past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses.
We would like to speak to you, or loved ones of a power morcellation victim who is deceased, if there was a cancer diagnosis following power morcellation surgery. Please contact us today to discuss your rights with an informed, experienced attorney who truly cares about you.