Laparoscopic surgery methods have allowed surgeons to perform certain complicated procedures with only very small incisions. These minimally invasive surgeries requires significantly less recovery time, have less of a risk of infection or wound complications, and substantially reduce post-operative pain. A piece of medical equipment called a power morcellator has made it easier for surgeons to use laparoscopic surgery to perform hysterectomies—removal of the uterus—or myomectomies—removal of uterine fibroids.
When a doctor makes a small incision, the rotating blades of the power morcellator break large sections of of the tissue to be removed into very small pieces. The surgeon then vacuums out the small pieces of tissue to complete the procedure.
Power morcellators can be dangerous
Though this kind of hysterectomy or myomectomy may seem to have a significantly faster recovery time, some patients who underwent a procedure with a power morcellator may later face serious and life-threatening injuries. In some cases, the morcellator may break up fibroid or uterine tissue that does not get completely removed from the body. If the tissue remaining inside the body is cancerous, the cancer cells can spread throughout the uterus.
To combat these risks of spreading cancer, women often undergo thorough cancer screening before having fibroids removed using a power morcellator. However, this screening does not effectively eliminate all risk. One particular type of cancer called leiomyosarcoma can appear on imaging tests to be benign fibroid tissue. Therefore, doctors may not be aware of the presence of this very dangerous type of cancer prior to using the power morcellator on a patient. Once the morcellator is used, the cancerous tissue may be spread and may become metastatic leiomyosarcoma, which can substantially worsen a patient's prognosis and chances of recovery.
Doctors should be aware of the risks of using power morcellators and patients should be fully and properly warned of the possible complications so that they may make the best decision regarding their surgery. If you have been diagnosed with cancer after a procedure using a power morcellator, you should not hesitate to discuss your legal rights with the office of the Michigan Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. Call us at (888) 454-0801 to schedule a free consultation.