Power morcellation had been widely employed in recent years for Hysterectomy, treatments for fibroids and other surgical procedures involving women at menopause. Less invasive than traditional surgery, Laparoscopic Power Morcellation involves the insertion of morcellators through a small incision. Rather than removing fibroids or the uterus intact as is done with more traditional surgery, laparoscopy allows for access to the uterus through a small, minimally-invasive incision. Laparoscopic power morcellation excises, or sections the fibroids or the entire uterus into small fragments, which can then be evacuated and removed through the small incision.
The procedure is designed to speed healing time. However, lawsuits have alleged that laparoscopic morcellation risks spreading undetected cancers throughout the abdomen. With power morcellation in wide use, some hospitals adopted a containment bag in order to contain fragments and potentially minimize the risk from undetected cancers – but most hospitals soon gave up on that.
Johnson & Johnson pulled their power morcellator from the market at some time previously, and the FDA developed a position that suggested morcellation should only be used as a last resort, and only in the rarest of occasions.
Now, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer (11/16/16), Laparoscopic Power Morcellation is making a comeback – or at least, that is the hope of Olympus.
Olympus’ new system, “is the solution that will allow gynecologists to once again safely and effectively offer minimally invasive hysterectomies...as options to certain low-risk patients,” said Todd Usen, president of the medical systems group at Olympus, in comments published in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The news of a new morcellation device coming into the market is not sitting well with cardiac surgeon Hooman Noorchashm, whose wife Amy Reed – an anesthesiologist – has been battling cancer since a laparoscopic power morcellation procedure in 2013 spread a previously undetected leiomyosarcoma throughout her abdomen.
Reed, the mother of six children, underwent extensive surgery last month at the University of Pennsylvania to fight the latest recurrence of her metastatic cancer.
READ MORE LAPAROSCOPIC POWER MORCELLATION LEGAL NEWS
Olympus says in laboratory tests the containment bag did not leak cells or bodily fluids. Nonetheless, the manufacturer will be required by the FDA to market the device with a warning that the Olympus laparoscopic power morcellator “has not been proved to reduce the risk of spreading cancer.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that most hospitals no longer employer morcellators for Laparoscopy Uterine Surgery for women and insurance no longer covers the use of power morcellators.