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Amy Josephine Reed

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 13 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2827
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. Washington, DC, USA
  1. bobroehr{at}

Upended use of morcellation

Amy Reed’s career as a research physician took a sharp turn in 2013 when a seemingly routine procedure to remove fibroids from her uterus ended up spreading an undetected aggressive form of cancer.

Amy Reed with her husband, Hooman NoorchashmCredit: Matthew Cavanaugh/Eyevine

She and her husband, Hooman Noorchashm, also a research physician, began a campaign to curb the use of morcellators, the device that facilitated the spread of her cancer.


An electrically powered morcellator consists of a spinning cutting blade that dices tissue, and suction that removes it. First introduced in the early 1990s, the device allows for a minimally invasive procedure (“the mincing of tissue”) that greatly reduces the size of incisions, speeds recovery, and allows patients to resume normal activity more quickly. At peak use, at least 50 000 women a year had undergone the procedure in the US.

In Reed’s case, undetected leiomyosarcoma lurked among the tissue and was detected by biopsy only after the procedure, which had …

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