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Morcellation Cancer Lawsuits

Morcellation Cancer Lawsuits

Our product liability trial lawyers are reviewing potential morcellation lawsuits against the manufacturers of power morcellators due to a failure to warn that it may result in the spread unsuspected uterine sarcoma.

Each year in the United States, approximately 500,000 women undergo a hysterectomy.[1]  A hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among women.

In addition, an estimated 50,000 women undergo uterine fibroid surgery or a myomectomy each year.

When a morcellator was used in either procedure in women with  unsuspected sarcomas and leiomyosarcoma (LMS), there is a risk that the cancer throughout the pelvis and abdomen, placed them a great risk of reducing the overall likelihood of long-term survival.

Women who have developed uterus, pelvis or abdomen cancer after undergoing a laparoscopic hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal surgery should speak to a product liability lawyer as soon as possible to protect there rights and assert their claim.

There are sensitive legal time limitations that must be met in order to prosecute your action.

1 in 350 women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for the treatment of fibroids are found to have an unsuspected uterine sarcoma.

Hysterectomy

Women may have a hysterectomy for different reasons, including painful uterine fibroids, bleeding, endometriosis, vaginal prolapse or other problems.

A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. However, other organs such as ovaries, fallopian tubes and the cervix are very frequently removed as part of the surgery.[2]

  • A radical hysterectomy is the complete removal of the uterus, cervix, upper vagina and parametrium. This is indicated for cancer. The lymph nodes, ovaries and fallopian tubes are also usually removed in this procedure, as in Wertheim’s hysterectomy.
  • A total hysterectomy is the complete removal of the uterus and cervix, with or without oophorectomy.
  • A subtotal hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, leaving the cervix in situ.

The procedure can be performed several different ways.

Abdominal hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus through an incision in the lower abdomen.[3]

A laparoscopic hysterectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the uterus. A small incision is made in the belly button. A tiny camera is

surgical_instruments_31140154_std
inserted through which the surgeon watches the image screen and performs the procedure. Two or three other tiny incisions are made in the lower abdomen for insertion of specialized instruments for the removal process.[4]

A vaginal hysterectomy is performed through the vaginal canal and has fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and shorter healing time than abdominal surgery.[5]

  • The videos below contain graphic images. Viewer discretion is advised.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

Abdominal Hysterectomy

Vaginal Hysterectomy

Myomectomy

Myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroid. Fibroids are common noncancerous growths that appear in the uterus.

During a myomectomy, the surgeon removes only the fibroids and leaves the uterus intact, unlike a hysterectomy which removes the entire uterus.[6] The woman, therefore, retains her reproductive potential.

A myomectomy can be performed in various ways depending on the location, size and number of lesions.[7]

Laparotomy
A laparotomy is performed by the surgeon making a full abdominal incision, either vertically or horizontally. Once the peritoneal cavity is opened, the uterus is incised, and the lesions removed. The open approach is often preferred for larger lesions. One or more incisions may be set into the uterine muscle and are repaired once the fibroid has been removed. The recovery stage is six to eight weeks after the surgery.

Laparoscopy
In the laparoscopic approach, the uterus is visualized and the fibroids located and excised. Morcellators are used to shred larger fibroids so they can be removed through the small portholes. Studies have suggested that laparoscopic myomectomy leads to lower morbidity rates and faster recovery than does laparotomic myomectomy. A laparoscopic myomectomy is not generally used on very large fibroids.

Hysteroscopy
A fibroid that is protruding into the endometrial cavity can be accessed by a hysteroscopic removal. This applies to smaller lesions. The recovery stage is only several days.

  • The videos below contain graphic images. Viewer discretion is advised.

Abdominal Myomectomy

Laparoscopic Myomectomy

Uterine fibroids

A uterine fibroid is a benign, non-cancerous, tumor that arise from the muscle layer (myometrium) of the uterus.[8] Uterine fibroids grow underneath the endometrium, in the myometrium or underneath the outer lining of the uterus.

Uterine fibroids are found in approximately 25% of women between the ages of 18-45 and in 80% of women of all ages.
They can cause abnormal uterine bleeding, pelvic pressure and can be detrimental to fertility.

Fibroids develop from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus (myometrium). A single cell divides repeatedly, eventually creating a firm, rubbery mass distinct from nearby tissue. The growth patterns of uterine fibroids vary — they may grow slowly or rapidly, or they may remain the same size. Some fibroids go through growth spurts, and some may shrink on their own. Many fibroids that have been present during pregnancy shrink or disappear after pregnancy, as the uterus goes back to a normal size.[9]

Fibroids range in size from being undetectable by the human eye to bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus. They can be single or multiple.

The most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Prolonged menstrual periods — seven days or more of menstrual bleeding
  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Constipation
  • Backache
  • Leg pains

Doctors do not know the exact cause of uterine fibroids, but some of the factors may include genetic changes, hormones and other growth factors.

monitoring in operation room
While uterine fibroids usually are not considered dangerous, they can cause discomfort, pain and may lead to complications such as anemia from heavy blood loss.

Fibroids do not interfere with conception and pregnancy. However, it’s possible that fibroids could cause infertility or pregnancy loss.

Uterine fibroids are usually discovered during a routine pelvic exam. A doctor can feel for irregularities in the shape of the uterus, suggesting fibroids.

If there is a suspicion of uterine fibroids, a doctor can order an ultrasound, a complete blood count test(CBC) to rule out anemia, an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as well as other tests.

Treatment is generally determined upon the severity of the symptoms the fibroids are causing. The treatment options can include a wait-and-see approach, drug therapy, a high-energy ultrasound transducer or a myomectomy.

Morcellator Litigation Attorneys

Product liability litigation is a complex area of personal injury law. In these types of cases, it is the plaintiff’s (the injured party’s) burden to show that the product was not fit for its intended purpose or that the manufacture failed to warm of a potentially dangerous side-effect that it know of or should have known of.

Power morcellator litigation is in its very early stages, with the FDA safety communication only coming in April of 2014. To date, we are not aware of any major settlements or verdicts involving power morcellator lawsuits. It is more than likely that the manufactures of these devices will test their exposure to liability at trial before coming to any large settlements. They will evaluate their risk, if any, to large jury verdicts. If it is proven in court that the power morcellator is a defective product, then, in that event, would settlements become more likely.

What should you do?

Regardless of the litigation track at the present time, it is important to remember that the law provides strict time limits to file power morcellator lawsuits.

Therefore, if you or a loved one has developed uterus, pelvis or abdomen cancer after undergoing a laparoscopic hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal surgery, you should immediately speak to an experienced product liability lawyer about bringing a morcellator cancer lawsuit. You need to protect your rights while there still may be time.

References

1. womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/hysterectomy.html

2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hysterectomy#Indications

3. www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/abdominal-hysterectomy/basics/definition/prc-20020767

4. mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org

5. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hysterectomy#Indications

6. www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/myomectomy/basics/definition/prc-20012919

7. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uterine_myomectomy

8. www.brighamandwomens.org

9. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/basics/definition/con-20037901

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