Traditional surgeries are increasingly being replaced by minimal invasive laparoscopic surgeries, which are believed to reduce scarring, pain, and hospital recovery time.
Morcellators, an electric medical device, permits surgeons to cut and extract tissue during laparoscopic surgeries. However, the cutting devices have been linked to the spread of a deadly uterine cancer called leiomyosarcoma.
What Is Leiomyosarcoma?
Leiomyosarcoma are tumors that develop in the smooth muscles of the body and like any sarcoma they can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Although this type of cancer is most often found in the uterus or abdomen, smooth muscles are found all over the body so a leiomyosarcoma can form almost anywhere there are blood vessels.
Leiomyosarcoma is classified as a soft tissue sarcoma. Sarcomas are malignant tumors arising from the mesenchymal cell lines. Of all sarcomas, approximately 5 to 10 percent are leiomyosarcoma.
The cause of leiomyosarcoma remains unknown. However, in 2012 a morcellator hysterectomy was performed on a woman in Reading, Pennsylvania and within a year of the surgery the woman died after developing leiomyosarcoma.
A recently filed lawsuit claimed that the device contributed to the woman’s death.
Lawsuits Against Morcellator Manufacturers
A complaint was filed in regards to the wrongful death of the Pennsylvania woman, alleging that the leiomyosarcoma metastasized because the device seeded cancer throughout her abdominal cavity.
The product liability lawsuit is naming several defendants, including three manufacturers of the morcellator who supply the devices to the reading hospital. The patients surviving spouse is the plaintiff and the lawyer who is representing him is also an obstetrician gynecologist.
The lawyer- doctor believes that surgeons routinely and wrongly use morcellators without considering whether patients have sizeable uterine fibroids or are experiencing menopause, run an increased risk of cancer.
The Pennsylvania woman’s husband is not the only one who feels that the morcellators may be contributing to the spread of this type of uterine cancer.
A 41 – year old anesthesiologist is fighting for her life in another part of the country. She is also fighting for the reevaluation of the use of morcellators.
She was diagnosed with advanced leiomyosarcoma, and feels that the federal offices should begin recognizing that the devices could possibly be spreading cancer to every 400 to 1,000 surgical patients.