Intended for healthcare professionals


New England Journal of Medicine essay on morcellation prompts a call for retraction

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 24 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1752
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. Seattle

An essay by a New England Journal of Medicine correspondent that questioned the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ruling that power morcellation was contraindicated in most women for the removal of benign uterine fibroids has prompted a call for a retraction and an apology by two doctors leading the fight against the device’s use.

Power morcellators use rapidly spinning blades to cut uterine tissue into fragments that can be easily removed through a small incision, reducing complications and recovery time. However, if the fibroid tissue harbors undetected uterine sarcoma there is a risk that the morcellator’s spinning blades will seed the abdomen with tumour tissue, resulting in difficult to treat metastatic disease. Concerns about this complication prompted the FDA to issue its warning about the device in 2014. Opponents of the FDA’S decision have said that the complication is rare and the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks.

In an essay published on 10 March, Lisa …

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