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US toughens warning on power morcellators

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 25 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7225
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

The US Food and Drug Administration has toughened its stance on laparoscopic power morcellators, warning doctors not to use the devices in the vast majority of hysterectomy and myomectomy procedures because of a risk that they can spread cancer cells in the abdomen.1

Power morcellators use rapidly spinning blades to cut uterine tissue into fragments that can be easily removed through a small incision. The term comes from the French morceler—to break into pieces. The devices are popular with surgeons because patients tend to recover more quickly when smaller incisions are used, but if the morcellator encounters an undetected uterine sarcoma during the procedure there is a risk that its spinning blades will seed the abdomen with tumor tissue. The FDA has estimated that about 1 in 350 women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids has an unsuspected uterine sarcoma.

William …

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