Carl Cecilia Merrill of Missouri, underwent the laparoscopic power morcellation surgery in December 2012 at which time an Ethicon Gynecare morcellator was used to allow the doctors to remove the uterus and fibroid laparoscopically. However, the device allegedly caused undiagnosed uterine cancer to be disseminated throughout her peritoneal cavity, causing a rapid upstaging of the cancer from its earliest, and most treatable stage, to its most deadly. She subsequently died of metastatic uterine cancer in August 2014.
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Consequently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety communication discouraging the use of laparoscopic power morcellation for the removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) or uterine fibroids (myomectomy) in women because, based on an analysis of currently available data, it poses a risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue, notably uterine sarcomas, beyond the uterus.
Laparoscopic power morcellation is one of several available treatments for fibroids. It is a procedure that uses a medical device to divide the uterine tissue into smaller pieces or fragments so it can be removed through a small incision in the abdomen, such as during laparoscopy.