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Johnson and Johnson Power Morcellator surgical tool pulled; concerns it can spread cancer

On July 30, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was pulling one of its laparoscopic surgery tools, the power morcellators from hospitals around the world. A laparoscopic power morcellator is a surgical tool that slices up uteruses and fibroids (common uterine masses) into small pieces so that they can be removed in a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

The idea of a hysterectomy performed with the use of a laparoscopic power morcellator is to avoid a large incision traditionally used to remove the uterus in one piece, substituting a process whereby the uterine tissue is obliterated by high speed blades. But the annihilated tissue may travel within the body, seeding disease in unexpected places. Iit seems that the device can actually end up spreading cancerous tissues inside the body.

“The bottom line is that it looks like the [cancer] risk is much higher than we originally thought,” Steven McCarus, chief of gynecological surgery at one of the top training sites for the laparoscopic power morcellator device told The Wall Street Journal.

The FDA had advised physicians not to use laparoscopic power morcellators in April, and Johnson & Johnson stopped selling new laparoscopic power morcellators at that time.

Now that Johnson & Johnson is recalling its devices already in use, it means that the largest manufacturer of laparoscopic power morcellators has chosen the side of patient safety after ignoring medical literature for the last 5 s that describes the dangers to patients. At this time, it is unknown how many patients have had cancers inadvertently spread through the use of a laparoscopic power morcellator.

The medical device lawyers at The Walkup Law firm are familiar with the problems associated with the power morcellator. They are exploring cases on behalf of women injured by the device. Interested persons should contact the firm by phone or via email at www.walkuplawoffice.com.

The Wall Street Journal, “Johnson & Johnson Pulls Hysterectomy Device From Hospitals,” Jon Kamp and Jennifer Levitz, July 30, 2014