Since she had her operation in 2013, Reed has undergone four operations to remove the tumors that were reportedly spread throughout her abdomen thanks to the power morcellation. According to Boston magazine (3/16), the companies that sell power morcellators put the odds of what Reed went to at around one in 10,000. But Reed says that for women who need surgery to remove fibroids the odds are actually one in 350.
Power morcellation is used to break up uterine tissue in women who are having hysterectomy or myomectomy for uterine fibroids. Breaking the uterine tissue up makes it easier to remove through a small incision, putting the patient at a lower risk of blood loss or infection. But in women who have uterine sarcoma—which is not detected until after the surgery—power morcellation effectively breaks up the cancerous tissue and spreads it within the abdomen, decreasing the long-term survival rate.
The FDA has issued a warning that the use of power morcellation could be linked to the spreading of a rare cancer. Since that time, according to reports, the use of power morcellators has dropped drastically. That drop, Reed notes, has not resulted in an increase in complications during hysterectomy, which some morcellation proponents warned would happen.
In other words, using power morcellators during hysterectomy may not actually decrease the risk of complications as much as previously believed.
READ MORE LAPAROSCOPIC POWER MORCELLATION LEGAL NEWS
Johnson & Johnson has withdrawn all its Ethicon morcellation devices, but power morcellators are still used in some minimally invasive surgeries. Lawsuits filed against the makers of power morcellation devices allege the companies knew or should have known about the risks associated with the use of power morcellators.