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Power Morcellator Lawsuits

The Unintended, though Deadly Consequences of Power Morcellators, the Basis of Power Morcellator Lawsuits

According to the National Institutes of Health, hysterectomy is one surgical procedure that many women in the United States will undergo in their lifetime. Presently, there are 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the U.S. every year, making it the second most common surgery after Caesarean section.

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure wherein a woman’s uterus or womb is removed. This is done for various reasons, such as to eliminate/remove or treat chronic pelvic pain, uterine fibroids or myomas (benign tumors growing in the uterus), tissues that cause cancer (like cervical cancer, ovarian cancer or cancer of the uterus), vaginal bleeding, uterine infections, adenomyosis, uterine prolapse and endometriosis.

There are different ways of performing hysterectomy. There is:

  • Abdominal Hysterectomy – which is an open surgery that requires a 5-7 inches vertical or horizontal incision in the abdomen);
  • Laparoscopic Hysterectomy – also known as minimally invasive surgery wherein four minimal (0.5-1cm) incisions are made. These incisions are passage ways for the laparoscope (a small camera that will allow a doctor to see inside the body and guide him/her in cutting the uterus into small pieces), the power morcellator (a surgical device used to cut the uterus or fibroids into small pieces), and other surgical tools;
  • Vaginal Hysterectomy – wherein the uterus or fibroids are cut and removed from within the vagina instead of through the abdomen); and,
  • Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy or LAVH – a procedure that makes use of a laparoscope to guide the cutting and removal of the uterus through the vagina.

The introduction of the power morcellator in the 1990s gave doctors a device that could enable them to perform hysterectomies or myomectomy (removal of uterine fibroid), easier, faster, with lesser chances of complications, with less pain and blood loss, and through very tiny cuts that heal much faster, compared to the 5 – 7-inch abdominal incisions required in traditional (or open surgery) hysterectomies.

According to a power morcellator lawsuit attorney, “morcellators are particularly well-suited to remove certain noncancerous growths during a laparoscopic surgical procedure, as these devices can help break down non-cancerous tumors and tissues into smaller pieces. However, if a patient does have cancerous tumors or growths, it can spread this cancerous tissue. As such, the unintended consequences associated with the use of morcellators can be devastating and may include:

  • Cancer growth, particularly Metastatic leiomyosarcoma, Uterine cancer, Uterine sarcoma, and Endometrial stromal sarcoma;
  • The abnormal growth of tissue; and,
  • Direct harm to healthy tissue” (http://www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/defective-pharmaceuticals/morcellators/)

Since 1995 the FDA has approved the use of power morcellator from different manufacturing firms, including those from Ethicon, Johnson & Johnson’s power morcellator manufacturing division. Cases of women diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a type of deadly cancer resulting from the spread of uterine sarcoma, have already been reported and lawsuits have also been filed against manufacturers of the device used on them.

Filing a morcellator lawsuit would definitely be the right of women injured by power morcellators as these legal actions can enable them to receive compensation (from the manufacturers or other parties responsible) that will cover medical treatment, pain and suffering and other damages that the court will recognize.

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