As the medical world has seen great technological advances in surgical devices, some devices have also caused unforeseen medical complications. Between one and two dozen patients have filed product liability cases against the manufacturers of laparoscopic power morcellators, devices used to slice and remove uterine fibroids. Patients say the devices can spread a dangerous hidden cancer from the uterus to other parts of the body.
Types of surgeries
An important question to ask is: Who could this affect?
The answer is any woman who has had any of following surgeries:
- Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
- Robotic Hysterectomy
- Laparoscopic Myomectomy
According to the FDA, one in 350 women who underwent any of the surgeries listed above could have uterine sarcoma, an undetected tumor that is a type of uterine cancer. The devices in question are used to remove uterine fibroids and can spread the cancerous tissue throughout the patient’s body. Since there is no reliable way to detect the cancer prior to the surgery, the FDA indicates that surgeons should consider alternative surgical techniques. This is especially dangerous because the undetected tumor can cause the cancer to progress from stage one to stage four greatly reducing a woman’s survival rate and quality of life.
The FDA has advised all women to avoid power morcellator procedures and to have routine follow-up exams with physicians if they have undergone such procedures. Johnson & Johnson, the largest manufacturer of this device, has suspended global sales of power morcellators. The FDA Advisory Committee, Obstetrics and Gynecological Medical Device Advisory Committee, will conduct a hearing in early July to discuss the risks and future of these devices.
At O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss, our personal injury lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of victims and families who have suffered harm through no fault of their own. If you or someone you know has developed cancer following undergoing a power morcellator procedure, our attorneys will help evaluate your case to determine if you have a claim. Contact us today.